Altars of Attention

Someone has stacked rock cairns
on top of stumps and stone walls
all along the washed-out road
I walk this morning. Each slab
is balanced by the other like one
right action holding space for the next.
But what is the message of these
small towers shored against the
mossy ruins of a country road?
Are they evidence of an effort
solid enough to withstand wind,
lashing rain and the shrapnel
of beer cans tossed from trucks?
I want to kneel and touch each one,
feel how the tip of one stone
fits into the divot of another,
but I don’t. Let them be altars
of attention that testify: someone
paused here and cared enough
to build these things for no reason
other than the pleasure of making them.

Nicholas O’Leary, Cairn Fog
Image courtesy of Nicholas O’Leary

August Morning

Our minds give off the light
that reveals the connections
linking us one to the other

like the newly risen sun
making visible the dew-
tipped spider webs spun

in the fields last night:
each shining thread drawing
the separate blades of grass

closer together, weaving
a wide patchwork net
which catches everything

that flies into its path.