Pebbles

Steps on a journey, creating points of pressure passing through
sediment and silt or vulcan fire and shifting plates; events
condensed to pebbles in a flow – not drops caught in the air,
nor crystals in a bed; labelled with identity, pocketed
or panniered as dumb reminders, random scraps,
collected fragments of dry fallout from life’s accidents;
weights to ballast, or to slow progress, or to cast aside:
to trail behind, spill randomly, or pile and heap,
or lay in patterns (circles / spirals / chequered squares);

They had been glaciered mountains, then tumbled
boulders and frost-hammered rocks, now small-ground
mill-grist smothering in settling flakes of drifting chaff:

Water-polished smooth stones, oval-round
and ragged flints, sharp and freshly scraped
and sandstone lumps, crumbling down to dust
and slate sliced thin in quarrying, mournful grey
and darker than the shining speckled granite cores
and mixed-in dull lead musket shot, long spent
and shards of coloured glass, sanded rubbed and worn
and broken seashells, once shelter for forgotten
fluid bi-valve lives, lived in salt along a littoral;

All solid objects linked to hazy memories,
lightly touched, felt heavily and of uncertain worth –
singly, or assembled, or amassed in grams and pounds.

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