Poem: The Cairn

Walden Pond in Autumn

Rocks upon rock.
Maybe the best we can do
Is opt for simplified order
Carved out of Gaia's splendid
Self-organizing complexity.

I'm at the place where the trail ends
Atop Emerson's Cliff at Walden Pond,
Concord, Massachusetts,
Standing in the dim, late October light,
With the highway humming beneath
The rustle of the remaining leaves
Quivering on twigs in the breeze.

I place a fallen pine cone
Next to the smooth and rounded stone
Crowning the cairn
Other visitors have built there.

Our own organic graffiti.
Our own unpublished poem.

Now descending I hope
No wind will sweep my cone away
Before a blessed witness might arrive.
And now, there -- Thank God! -- is a hiker
Ascending the other side of the hill.

Let him say, yes, they altered this place
In a way that was good. Let him add
His own pine cone, or stone.

Turning my attention back to the path
I place my foot on a root grabbing
Tight over protruding stone,
Securing it in place . . . for how long?
Ten years? Or fifty?

Longer than the cairn will stand I think --
Those rocks placed upon rock
Which embellished but did not destroy,
Which made us unshakably happy
For one beautiful, eternal day.

Mitch Bogen
2006 / 2013


  1. Thanks, Deborah. You might also have identified me as a conehead, so I came out good on this deal.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts