I used to write poetry. I don’t know why I stopped, or if I didn’t stop and am in remission. One of my poems was selected for an anthology published by the North Carolina Poetry Society way back in 1992. It was inspired by the number of arrowheads my husband found while we were living on a farm in Pennsylvania. I was wildly jealous, because while they seemed to leap into his hands, I could never spot them. We are on vacation this week in Pennsylvania, so I leave you this poem instead of a
Searching for Arrowheads After Plowing
Newly turned, the earth seems stunned
at its exposure, shrinking from the sun’s
burning eye. Clods of dirt crumble
beneath the brightness of that searing gaze.
The flint’s scalloped edge gleams
where the plow has scraped it clean:
an alien shape rescued from the roundness
of the stones, the earth, the sun.
The arrowhead summons a vision
of the patient artist
who shaped his splintered bits of rock
by chipping away at the fragile edges,
wetting them with droplets of water,
(sighing perhaps at the ache in his bent back)
binding them with deer-gut thongs to a peeled shaft,
to make a child’s first arrow,
or a warrior’s spear.
One shaft must have missed its mark
and burrowed itself into the leaf-rich loam until,
time-cleansed of all but its essential shape,
it sank through the waiting earth
like a shell drifting slowly downward
through a bottomless sea.
Artist, hunter, and prey, all silent
as the voiceless song of the vanquished forest,
until the iron plow split the waiting field apart
and spewed in its plodding wake
their mute and ancient epitaph.
©1992 Sandra Z. Bruney