Stone Wall

What this garden needs is a wall
so I’ll build one
alone
the method’s simple
can be learned from books
requires no special tools
or great strength 
if the stones are not too big
though I will be tired and sore
the resulting wall will be strong
will stand undisturbed
long after I’m gone
in the morning sun
I gather what I need
wheelbarrow, sturdy gloves
shovel, steel rebar and twine
a pile of stone
I begin where all built things
must begin
grounded in the earth
digging a wide shallow trench
where the wall is to go
ferrying barrow loads of gravel
I shovel them into the trench
and rake them smooth
begin laying down stones
filling the trench from side to side
end to end
lifting the thick granite slabs
placing them just so
each touching the next
until the trench is filled
I hammer a rod of rebar
into the ground at the four corners
angled slightly toward the centre
string the twine in two rows
between the bars
a flimsy construction
that forms a frame
within which I will build
the wall begins to grow
as I add stone upon stone
choosing each carefully
laying them one upon another 
overlapping, interconnecting
allowing no vertical seam to form
which might separate
threaten the strength of the structure
its integrity
stones stack up within the lines I’ve set
stepping back slightly as they rise
to form the gently sloping surface
I move up and down the length
choosing, placing, feeling the heft
of each stone
its rough planes felt 
through the heavy canvas of my gloves
the sun shines down
moves across the sky
disappears
the next day I’m back
and the next
laying down the days
like stone.


This poem was originally published in The Great Lakes Review, Issue 4 Summer 2014