A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Sunday, 9 June 2013


Jade, green emerald or malachite
are no match for the mystery
of this sea-green mineral stone
buffed smooth as snakeskin
and laced with thin rivulets of yellow fire.

Its oily, olivaceous surface
is mottled like a lizard.

Forged by slow alchemies
of fire and water,
part of the ocean's crust made visible
through the immensity of deep time,
this druid's ceremonial disc
is magic amulet, a shining
quern of healing power.

I wear it round my neck
as talisman, encouraging
the marvellous, also protecting
against the dreadful;

though everything we fear
may not be quite as dreadful
as we think; may even contain

mysteries and little marvels.


Ruth said...

Wonderful! I have a big smile after following this serpentine trail. May all your trails be marvelous or mysterious.

George said...

Wonderful indeed, Robert, and I think the talisman continues to serve you well. And, yes, that which is feared is seldom as dreadful as once imagined, and often contains some element of unexpected beauty or wisdom.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I am all for talismans (or would that be talismen?) Robert and I love that serpentine one. But give me an emerald any day of the week - preferably a large square on in a 22carat gold setting!

The Solitary Walker said...

Hi Ruth! Serpentine trails are always the most rewarding... and George, you get to the very heart of this poem... and Pat: perhaps you could drop a hint to the Farmer as Christmas approaches?

The mineral serpentine, incidentally, is only found in the UK on the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall...