Fundamental Frailties


Stones and bones, bones and stones:

Ancient and anointed thrones;

Buttresses of lighter things—

Seats of man and earth, their kings.


Stones and bones, bones and stones:

Mud and man have made them known;

One of sand, and one of skin—

One of land, and one of limb.


Bone for arm, and stone for haugh;

Stone for barn, and bone for jaw.

Carve them nicely, hold them fast—

Take their luck and make it last


If you can!  Such charms may break:

Guard them closely, for love’s sake.

Quakes and wedges make stones splinter;

Old bones bend in bodies’ winter.


Peevish cobbles pulled from earth

Clamor dumbly on their turf;

So, a hip-bone slipped off-joint

Shakes the nerves at every point.


Tumbled stones and crumbled bones

Tremble, like their worldly home.

Fumbling, they mock the rod

Of the everlasting: God!


So, my friend, trust not the stones;

No peace is found in earthly bones.


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