Circle of Painted Stones (at La Casa de Maria)

By Sojourner Kincaid Rolle

Standing in this circle,
we clasp hands.
A momentary silence.
Then in hushed reverence,
           we honor each stone;
           we utter each name;
           we hallow each memory. 

We salute our common grief. 

Gentle clover—beauty’s emissary— 

encircles each remembrance. 

Here among the memory stones, 

           we consider the years
           they might have lived; 

           consider the hands 

           that might have worked 

           toward healing; 

           consider the feet 

           that might have strode 

           out of the dark tunnels 

           into the light. 

Here familiars congregate in 

disparate spaces.

           On my writing hand,

           as if to guide it, a fly lands.

           A crow babbles in unison

           with the sweet whistle of

           a wren.  A duet of opposites.

Here we speak a common tongue;

the language of sorrow and loss

and, too, hope.

Sojourner Kincaid Rolle is a poet, playwright, environmental educator and peace activist. She served as Santa Barbara’s Poet Laureate from 2015-2017. Her books include Mellow Yellow Global Umbrella, Common Ancestry, and Black Street: Poems. Rolle has led workshops through her Song of Place Poetry Project since 1997. Also by this poet: "Zaca" and "In Peace and Gratitude."