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The Magic of Stones

Susan Ioannou
Reprinted from:   Looking Through Stone: Poems about the Earth. Sudbury: Your Scrivener Press, 2007.


Stroke a flawless rock,
and you become
—invisible!
What if another
gleams in the dark?
Or stings your tongue?

So many shapes tickle your palm,
be they needles and threads,
opalized animal bones,
stiffened straight as a pencil, a cross,
or opening to a rose,
a chrysanthemum.

Sniff pine,
and you may hold amber
from soil perspiring under a sinking sun.
Rubbed, it becomes
electric to chaff and linden,
like lodestone pointing north from south
that once, it's told, in ancient Magnesia
locked a shepherd to the ground
by his iron-nailed soles.

Or look above, to the stars
for fossils falling to seed the earth,
and meteoritic iron to forge gods' armour
strong as the quarried mountain slope
healed by growing marble
to fill its wounds.

Though plunged six feet into the earth,
a thunder egg may guard against lightning,
each rumble drawing it one foot nearer the air.
Calabrian peasants claim that when
a blue thread holding it over a fire
does not burn,
the egg is one more talisman
to guard against snakebite,
spark courage, or love.

But which,
tight in your fist,
will make you invisible?


Susan Ioannou's works copyright © to the author.


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