Darby Formation

–A poem by Bret Norwood


Rockhammer in hand, I strike the side

of the uplifted strata the highway exposed.

I strike her side, the mountain’s rib,

and she, whose dress is aspen and conifers,

doesn’t flinch or feel a thing.

I hold the radial fossil

I found in limestone,


to the ages of ages,

a brief salvation in stone

against the rise and fall of the range.

And I see the granite circum-cubic solids

strewn across her eroding face.

I see this fallen city not of men,

which once in former eons housed

incomprehensible geological spirits,

which house the same, though hidden, now.

I knock on the ancient doors of those who knew

the spiral fossils as they filled the sea,

and the first forested Devonian shores

that since became the mountains.

You spirits, teach me

to burgeon

beyond the beaches,

to colonize lands as the plants

that first forested the Devonian shores

that stand erect as mountains.

You spirits, teach me

to seed

the seas with spirals

and cones and claws and shells,

and, speaking, illustrate


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