Genealogy

This island is scared
its ancient granite has been cut
to build temples and gravestones.

Hurricane Island, a Maine island
fog drenched spruce clad
holder of fragments, unfinished
scattered grave stones, curbs, steps
drilled and cut and marred, scattered
on the shores
its ancient solitude ripped open
even to the outer sea bashed edge
the edge of the soft grinding sea
cutting fissures in the ancient stone
cutting aquiline lines.

Hard cut edges of the quarry
tower above a pool, a grand bird bath
with squawks and caws
of gull and crow contesting
air space above dense mossed trees.

Quarry men dig into the root
the oldest crustal parts of earth,
genealogists seek roots in other men
dig in old manuscripts
and grave stone legends
wanting a permanence like granite
for themselves in heaven.

Gently scoured by air sea and sand
unreachable ocean edge prominences,
ancient uncut stones, reveal
soft edged, sleeping Buddhas,
Mahabalipurim temples,
sea softened shapes
where gods emerge.
The slime beneath
the Buddha is
the beginning.

So, here is man
claiming permanence
using cut granite makers
denying his slimy beginning
his finite moment
creating heavens, nailing ancestors
into a choir celebrating
his transcendent soul
failing to accept death, the birth price.

the force of the sea
grinds away the scratches
of names, the cryings
of I, that was, engraved
in the ancient stones.
Chthonic rage
scours away all marks
restores the softer shapes,
the real sleeping Buddha
nurturing life to come.

7/26/06 On a mooring at Hurricane island.

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