Maine Boulders
by Scott Shaffer

I hear their call before I see them.
We arrive in darkness our first night at the Maine cottage.
Lying in bed, we hear them bellow and roar,

as they harness the unruly ocean, only twenty yards distant.
Strangely, their crashing nocturne washes away
our travel and embraces us in a refuge of rest.

Next day’s quiet dawn reveals our backyard orchestra:
massive, jagged boulders, chiseled into countless shapes,
sizes, and sporadic crevices by eons of grinding surf.

Even their drab attire can’t hide their bulging strength–
most are clad in dingy grey-blue, some wear a putty-colored cloak
mottled with ashen specks, others sport rust-looking patches.

Daily we loll in the sun atop their majestic shoulders;
we observe how they graciously permit the relentless tide
to seep slowly through them, rising higher, higher.

We also exult as we hike their mighty inland cousins–
craggy mountain “trails” jumbled together as if by clumsy giants;
some trail markers so small or faint that we feel like lost hobbits.

All these stony sirens cast a spell that awes and inspires:
“Tread upon us, marvel at us, become like us–immovable,
invincible, able to withstand life’s worst weather.”

But even better, when my heart grows faint, their memory
reminds me to cry out like the king who slew a giant:
“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I”!

Editor’s Note: “Maine Boulders” was awarded 3rd place in the Nature category
of the the 65th Annual Chicagoland Poetry Contest, 2021.


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