Thirteen Ways of Looking At Stone by Sue Burge




Sue Burge is a freelance creative writing and film studies tutor based in North Norfolk.  Her poems have appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies.  Sue’s first collection In the Kingdom of Shadows (Live Canon) was published in November 2018 alongside her debut pamphlet Lumiere (Hedgehog Poetry Press).  Sue’s new pamphlet, The Saltwater Diaries, is forthcoming, also with Hedgehog Poetry Press, in September 2020. More information at

















Thirteen Ways of Looking At Stone 


after Wallace Stevens














rest your cheek in its lee

where the night cannot find you



carve your face in the soft mountainside

watch your nose crumble

your eyes & mouth become dust



the art of skimming

unachievable as an equation

the pebble lies on my palm



I left a trail of pebbles long ago –

did you collect them

build the tallest cairn?



outline my body where it falls

lay me under a blanket of shale



how did you carry those tablets of stone

down the steep, treacherous path?

Did you pause, unwrap food

from linen folds, take a sinful bite?



the road to hell is paved with gravel –

it will find its way

into the most tightly laced shoe



I wake from a dream

of blood and chanting

the taste of standing stone



I weigh my poems down

with a hagstone –

a life lived slant



in a cabinet

a piece of moon

jagged & dark

one day I will steal it

inhale its pale heart



sometimes I lift a mirror to you

afraid of your Gorgon stare



is stone still warm without my touch?

does it erode

only when my back is turned?



torn from the earth’s belly




Sue Burge





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