Inside the Stone 

By Kate Barnes 

Up in the woods,

in the circle among the beech trees,

last winter one of the lumber horses split a stone

horizontally, with a clip of his big steel shoe.


It had seemed to be a plain gray stone,

but when it was opened a black wall appeared,

rusty at the edges, flecked with pale checks

like unknown constellations, and over all

floated wisps of blue-gray, trailing feathers of clouds.



I brush away the fallen leaves

and stare into the distance inside the stone.

If one could become a bird—

if one could fly into that night—

if one could see the circling of those stars—



and then the woods become very still,

and beech leaves blur at the edge of my vision.

I find I am bending lower and lower.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 1994 Kate Barnes. Reprinted from “Where The Deer Were,” David R. Godine, Publisher, Inc., 1994, by permission of Kate Barnes. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, special consultant to the Maine poet laureate, at or 228-8263.

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