As a life long pebble pusher, I spend some gardening time singling out pebbles for their beauty, whether of form, texture or colour, translucence or opacity, perfection or imperfection.  They decorate the edges of paths or flower beds or circle plants and pots, and I notice mosaics made of pebbles (on which I have a few books, pending the day we need to lay a new path). 

I hold them in my hand and wonder how they ended up in this spot, how old they are, and how long after I have gone they will still be pebbling.  And if you think this eccentric, I am in good company.  Keats picked up pebbles and put them in his pocket to bring home to his beloved Fanny, and recently I was delighted to discover this poem by Zbigniew Herbert who qualifies as a paid up member of the same club as me and my mate Johnny K.   

The pebble

is a perfect creature

equal to itself

mindful of its limits

filled exactly

with a pebbly meaning …

Pebbles cannot be tamed

to the end they will look at us

with a calm and very clean eye.


Source: Zbigniew Herbert, ‘Pebble’ poem, quoted in Seamus Heaney, Finders Keepers: Selected prose 1971-2001 (London: Faber and Faber, 2003), p. 163

Photo credit: Americanet at pixabay


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