Sunday, December 4, 2016

Travertine Revisited

When my longtime friend, Willie, read this poem 8 years ago, he wrote a comment that was a poem in itself and joined the one I wrote: "Why does this remind me of some of your... poems from some 40 years ago? Perhaps it's that focusing down through layers and layers of existence to what turns out to be the pebble."

Layers and layers of limestone sediment and time is pretty much what travertine is. But there's more. There's light and life and ages snagged in this mineral that is also a recording mechanism. You take old limestone and polish it right in a rockgrinder and you get snapshots of old forests --and, in imagination, scenes of prehistoric life. My favorite bit of travertine got doodled again last year and recently used in another blog. Here is the rock (upper left), with its real scene of million year-old tree trunks in it, and my doodle of imagined dancers below.

Here is the poem:


Eyes of creatures long gone
And what they saw are
Caught under crystal
From solution--
Light of other days compressed
Into stone, deposited
Here and there--
Their tongues lapping
At the surface of waters
Long since turned
To desert.
Here, amid red,
Green, yellow are
Black veins in
Travertine that tell
Of seas, rivers, lakes
Come and gone,
Prairies carbonized.
There is much to read
In a pebble. 


  1. I never got such a pretty result when polishing rocks. I like yours.

    1. It's all in technique, Emma. Although we have done lapidary in the past, this stone was a gift from a family friend who is more skilled. I get excellent results from this method.

  2. Remarkable poem and a beautiful comment.

    1. Thanks, Rick. Willie is an articulate man who keeps me in touch with grammar and composition --he was my English teacher 50 years ago and is still my friend.

  3. It's mind-expanding, if not downright mind-blowing, when we think of the things around us that have been here since the earth was formed - and before that, elsewhere. Even ordinary rocks. And your travertine is beautiful. I didn't realize those were dancers in your Geodoodle. I need a magnifying glass to get the full effect!

    1. In all honesty, I can't remember what the doodle figures were doing when I drew them. They might have been queued at some paleolithic public convenience --in which case 'dancers' would apply.

  4. It looks like a miniature world in each pebble. Love the layers and the very descriptive poem.
    Thank you, Geo.

    1. Kind Robyn, strangely your generous comment didn't show on my blog until this evening --a full 24 hours after its time stamp; I fear Google must be making "improvements" again. Glad it came through and wonder how long bloggers must wait who live farther than 80 miles apart (Chico to Sac.). Glad you enjoyed poem --I sure enjoy your poems too!

  5. There is no limit to imagination. It is a wonderful tool in the hands of people like you and Willie!

  6. Oh these are really gorgeous, aren't they?!
    Such a pity most of us never seem to find the time to look...really these beautiful treasures of the Earth.
    Oh thank you SO much for this stunning post, Geo...oh I could sit here, just gazing, for hour upon hour...

    Have a Fabulous Weekend! :))

    1. Thanks, Ygraine. I've always been fond of pebbles and the stories they tell. Lapidary lets light into them and makes them little lenses into prehistory. Happy weekend to you too!

  7. the heart is blessed that reads the most special and precious book with love and care 'THE BOOK OF NATURE".everything written in it is to ponder upon to mold it into best of it;s existence


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