Alyson Hallet - The Stone Library
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Alyson Hallet - The Stone Library
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Alyson Hallet - The Stone Library


The Boulder in the Room

This house has an uncommon boulder

neither in nor out of doors,

but spanning both.

You could fancy there's a threshold there,

not necessarily to the normal outside -

a link to the valley

where all the boulders ring

with half heard cadences

just as they did when trees formed

a full cape for the spirits born of forest

and no man dare to tear the branches down.

We are left with just their shimmering garlands

around the faces of the water-holes

we've ripped out of the sky.


Let's not be strict on when the other time was,

for it was long ago, and still is,

if you care to rest your head up on that rock,

shut your eyes and slumber

against its old grey. You can hear

the layers of dreams gone hard

begin to soften.

An image may strike you like an axe

so you jump a whole life in your sleep.

Swearing that you should be dead,

you cross back the threshold

and thank your lucky stars.


But also you remember

how the rock went through you

and take care to sit by it often

as it curls up in the front wall

like a wolf asleep.

It is a head of creature earth -

the eye of ancient storm,

a waymaker.


Susan Taylor