Russell Rowland: “Sacrificial Stone on Mount Shaw”

Sacrificial Stone on Mount Shaw

Either time has buried it, or no stone
was ever there, save in stories—
like the sasquatch reported to yowl away
each lonely night on slopes nearby.

Some still search, perhaps to feel
connection with older, better formalities
indigenous people knew,
to appease the Destroyer of Worlds.

Or else, at almost three thousand feet,
Shaw itself is the stone; ascent
a sacrifice of thanksgiving for heights
from which death looks a little thing—

down in the valley, where our miniscule
spires concede religion to be remote
from the terrain of hills, the enigmatic
code of the constellations.

Some would offer a flower they picked,
or a painted shell. Others might
just walk humbly out onto the summit;
show kindness upon return.

Seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee Russell Rowland writes from New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, where he has judged high-school Poetry Out Loud competitions. His work appears in Except for Love: New England Poets Inspired by Donald Hall (Encircle Publications), and Covid Spring, Vol. 2 (Hobblebush Books). His latest poetry book, Wooden Nutmegs, is available from Encircle Publications.

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