The Life of Stones & Lois Beebe Hayna

Shortly after I started Greenwoman Magazine last year, the wonderful and helpful Carol Ciavonne told me about poet Lois Beebe Hayna. I was  embarrassed that I didn’t know about her (she is a former Colorado Springs’ poet laureate). Poetry is my weak area, the only literary form that I kick myself for not knowing more about. This was great–here was a chance to learn! I read all of Hayna’s books and was enchanted. What turned me on most was her connection to nature.  I wrote her, asking if we might publish something in Greenwoman and she gave me permission to publish anything I pleased, anytime. No payment necessary.

Her generosity astonished me. Other things would astonish me as well. That she is now nearly 100 years old (born in 1913) and that she did not publish her first book of poetry until age 70 (Book of Charms, 1983). Here’s a few wise words about art and about her late start in life.

Later last year I discovered this amazing interview  as well and I’d like to share it today, along with one of her wonderful poems.

From Lois Beebe Hayna’s  Northern Gothic.

Having Come So Far

Always in spring
we gather stones. Heaved up by frost
stones drag at the plow, strike sparks
from hoes. We glean them
as we gleaned last spring
and every spring before, piling them into cairns
before we plant.
I never understand why stones work up,
when, heavy as they are, they ought to sink.
I start to believe they have
some kind of slow, reptilian life,
struggling for ages up
through suffocating clay.
Maybe in some deep place they break away–
flocks of stones like just-hatched chicks–
always new broods of them
starting their long, blind climb
toward light. Seeds do that, seeds
as hard, as seeming-dead
as stones. Once buried in earth they climb
like the sun was a magnet. Stones
don’t put out leaf and vine but light seems
to pull them too, and they start
their vast subterranean journey.
Gathering them, I begin to feel
their almost-animate relief
at reaching light and air, and I was furious
when my sons skipped stones into the river–
undoing in one careless afternoon
who-knows-how-many centuries of progress.

                                                              –Lois Beebe Hayna

1 Comment

Filed under Garden Writers We Love

One response to “The Life of Stones & Lois Beebe Hayna

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