Family Memorial Garden

by Kathleen Wilson

no graveyard but old moss
ponds and waterways
where turtles sun
on family trees
of boulders
mapped and named

ancient gray
gneisses found
on Brown Mountain
near Angeles Crest
165 million years old

her mother
oldest generation granite
closely associated
with Brown Mountain
older than
170 million years old

her mother
sheared granites
lighter varieties found
on higher elevations of Mt Lowe
darker varieties send out tributaties on Bear Mountain
220 million years old

my mother
pink granite
that underlies
Echo Mountain
visible on canyon trails
140 million years old

I am relatively unsheared
granite from
Arroyo Seco
75 million years old

my father
uniform gray granite
Mount Wilson
140 million years old

his family
few stories of dark and light rocks
related to Arroyo Seco
transported by man
ages and sources unknown

my father left suddenly
as mysteriously as his past
we turtles pulled into our shells
his stilled voice waterfalled
over pseudoliths we found to climb
30+ years ago


Author's Note: Published Shalespeare's Monkey Revue, Vol 1 issue 3, April 2008

Posted on 11/18/2007
Copyright © 2018 Kathleen Wilson

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 11/18/07 at 06:21 PM

So original it makes me dance in delight! so layered in dense, dense time yet distinct parts of you, and of the greater Mother's family. The ending brings me abruptly and sadly back to a more present family layering and wearing away. My, my, you have outdone yourself with this one, Kathleen!

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 11/18/07 at 06:22 PM

Oh, and the turtles pulling themselves into their shells - brilliant!!

Posted by Gregory O'Neill on 11/18/07 at 08:56 PM

I love this personification of ancient sediments and layers. Maybe it's where our "essence" can be found, based in the solid and waiting for some familial and poetic archeology to bring us home or to life. Excellent, as always. Thanks.

Posted by Michelle Angelini on 11/20/07 at 04:55 AM

Not sure I'll ever see the arroyo and Angeles Crest Forest the same way. You have presented an indelibly intimate look at the geography in this area. I love rocks and turtles. The blending of nature, scientific terms, geological numbers, and family is something only you could do. WOW!

Posted by David Garner on 11/20/07 at 05:21 PM

what a beautifully framed poem of geological family fossils and history. I love each stanza and how we can relate to each "person".

Posted by Ken Harnisch on 11/21/07 at 12:55 PM

You continue to explore poetic canyons, crevices and alpines most of us would not dare...again...again...stunning!

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 11/24/07 at 02:35 PM

Quite the unexpected jem Kathleen. Refreshingly different and evocative analogy(ies). Congrats on hitting no. 1 and Happy Birthday to your husband. :o)

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