Rock Work

Paul Bindel, SCA Mass Parks AmeriCorps 2008
We did not roll up our sleeves.
We proofed ourselves in plastic and walked
into the rain, to slough in rocks,

to upturn stones. We set them so they
would not wiggle. We imagined what lay
below a mossy corner, a foot of dirt,

by plunging our bars and craning our ears
for the pitch of the ting. We heard muddy
earth give a parting smooch with a schwack

as they rose above ground. We learned that rocks sing
when wet—from spring thaw streams,
from brooks, from a drizzling hour—flecks

of sedimentary sound. We ordered
muddy bogs with the roundest we could find,
and stacked their flatter kin up hills

and windy paths. We cursed
the winter frost for heaving fresh
layers in our way, then laughed,

and blessed it for the crushed
fill those heavy souls would provide.
We smashed our fingers, strained

our backs, and nuzzled our frames
against granite just to move it an inch.
We chose which roots to chop

with a mattock and which to let lie.
We used the sternest stuff for walls
to channel water down a hill, below a trail,

wherever we desired. Our wills were brought
upon the forms of earth and we found
the work firming, marking who we might become.