The Continuing No Shame Poetry Series Presents "Sticks and Stones"

Sticks and Stones

We always have sticks in our yard

because we have a lot of trees.
Now there’s a cause and effect for you:
Trees produce sticks, especially when it’s windy
Like it was today.
And I know, I should have been an arborist
My knowledge of trees and their by-products is
So profound. So much for maple syrup and
Pine boards and willow bark for headaches:
give me a good stick
On the ground
And I’ll pick it up.
I am always picking them up
Trees produce sticks.

Stones (on the other hand) were
Produced by glaciers in this part
Of the country. The glaciers covered
This area to a depth of about a million miles
Or something like that. (Do I look like a
Paleogeologist?) It was a lot of ice
In any case,
And when the planet warmed
(as it seems to be doing now)
The glaciers were gracious in defeat
And retreated north gradually, at less
Than a walking pace, I’m told,Although I would not want to pace a glacier.
I’d rather watch paint dry
Which is fun you shouldn’t knock unless
You’ve tried it.

But anyhow, the glaciers ground up
Great big old boulders and rocks and
Made them into little stones
But they didn’t pick up after themselves
(Because they have no hands, dummy),
And that’s why there are rocks everywhere
Around here, just waiting to jump up into
A lawnmower blade and be flung into someone’s
Car windshield and break it
Or lie right below where I am digging a nice hole
With a shovel and trying not to pierce a gas line
And blow the neighborhood up.
When shovel hits rock the shovel handle vibrates and
Jars my teeth. (I prefer my teeth in my mouth, not in jars.
How about you?)

Of the two, sticks and stones, I prefer sticks to stones.
Sticks you can throw or make a nice archery set
And play Hunger Games with your friends.
Stones pretty much sit there like a stone
(I know, so funny of me!)
Unless they are thrown which you should not do,Especially if you live in a glass house
(Just imagine cleaning all that glass twice a year
Or when company comes!)

And so, although sticks and stones may break my bones,
It was a notebook filled with words that hurt
Me when I caught my little toe on my right foot
And broke it.

Watch out for notebooks, kids,
And watch out for words.

They can do the real hurt.

–Dan Verner

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