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A Go at the Lifting-Stone



Published January 10, 2007 at 5:00 a.m.


"For many years a nearly round granite stone about two feet in diameter sat at the easterly corner of the front steps of the store now owned by Frank E. Brown. Few men in the town could lift it off the ground."

- Fred Pitkin's

History of Marshfield, Vermont, 1947.

The hands, arms, shoulders and back

consult briefly. A new challenge

of some dimension, of serious intent.

Promise heaves in the brain. This

is our provincial glory!

The bet down - budge it, and you won't

have to buy your own beer for a week -

you think in a sense your future

lies bearing its secret under the stone,

the days breaking in your favor

or not an equation of space -

its possibilities -

conjuncting with the flesh

and its limitations;

all borne up forever on the new skin

of the earth, eternally new,

and getting younger by the minute

until you have the confirmation

you seek. By God,

you are about to learn something

(this being your sole duty);

and you learn something sure enough.

Next day, when the usual warriors

clap you on the armored brace,

your lips roll back like a dog's -

the bloody thing having not given

an inch. The sudden multitude

of flea-like urgencies in your ankle

you would rather die than bend

to attend to. Closing your eyes to this

and the uncompromising grins

stretched across the faces of

these yahoos buying you

beer after beer after beer.