“The Museum of Stones” • Carolyn Forché

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The Museum of Stones

This is your museum of stones, assembled in matchbox and tin,
collected from roadside, culvert, and viaduct,
battlefield, threshing floor, basilica, abattoir,
stones loosened by tanks in the streets
of a city whose earliest map was drawn in ink on linen,
schoolyard stones in the hand of a corpse,
pebble from Apollinaire’s oui,
stone of the mind within us
carried from one silence to another,
stone of cromlech and cairn, schist and shale, hornblende,
agate, marble, millstones, and ruins of choirs and shipyards,
chalk, marl, and mudstone from temples and tombs,
stone from the silvery grass near the scaffold,
stone from the tunnel lined with bones,
lava of the city’s entombment,
chipped from lighthouse, cell wall, scriptorium,
paving stones from the hands of those who rose against the army,
stones where the bells had fallen, where the bridges were blown,
those that had flown through windows and weighted petitions,
feldspar, rose quartz, slate, blueschist, gneiss, and chert,
fragments of an abbey at dusk, sandstone toe
of a Buddha mortared at Bamiyan,
stone from the hill of three crosses and a crypt,
from a chimney where storks cried like human children,
stones newly fallen from stars, a stillness of stones, a heart,
altar and boundary stone, marker and vessel, first cast, lode, and hail,
bridge stones and others to pave and shut up with,
stone apple, stone basil, beech, berry, stone brake,
stone bramble, stone fern, lichen, liverwort, pippin, and root,
concretion of the body, as blind as cold as deaf,
all earth a quarry, all life a labor, stone-faced, stone-drunk
with hope that this assemblage, taken together, would become
a shrine or holy place, an ossuary, immovable and sacred,
like the stone that marked the path of the sun as it entered the human dawn.

Here’s the recording of Carolyn Forché performing the piece!

Sources

Bryant, Jo. “What is a list poem?” Chronicles of Illusions. WordPress. Web. 17 April 2011.
Forché, Carolyn. “The Museum of Stones.” Poem of the Day. Poetry Foundation. Podcast. 6 July 2018.

Credits

The Art!

Maggie McKenna

The Music!

Alex “Bones” Niederberger

The Show!

Hannah Renea “HR” Bumgarner

Next Episode: Monday, August 13th

Find us on iTunes and Google Play!

One thought on ““The Museum of Stones” • Carolyn Forché

  1. Stones are unique but never knew such large words could be produced about them. You did a better job with pronunciation than I could. Love you

    Like

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