Oracle Stone

Listen to the stones’
eerie rattling as the tide washes in
and upsweeping waves crest, break
upon thousands, grating, rolling
round, rising under the roar
until the sea
pulls back and sucks down,
bubbling pebbles out of their clatter
to tinkle water between.

What is it they would tell?
Choose four pebbles to summon
earth, air, fire, and water,
plus a fifth for the asking:
pink, to learn
what longing would hear,
a sparkling Trickster, to amaze,
or a holed Spirit stone
for the truth.

To charge each with a meaning
pass it through incense, the charcoal smoke
from an essential oil.
Cast them all,
and two that tumble
farthest and nearest the question stone
like forks on a divining rod
will draw an answer
up from the living Earth.

For long ago, an oracle promised
if opal and other precious gems
are Earth’s fancies in sleep,
then brightly tinted pebbles and shells
flinging from foam to sand
must be the sea’s dreams.

Susan Iannou

Looking Through Stone: Poems About the Earth

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