The light that sparkles in the quarry’s hole,
Pressing diamonds out of water’s coal,

Dresses up the ceiling as the quartz
Lights the quarries that it courts,

Using all the music of the mica’s lyre
To crystallize our skin in borrowed fire,

As if the facets of our tinseled ears
Were mounted in the water’s chandeliers,

A liquid landscape in a lake
That dimples faces with the shake

Of leaves, with limpid earrings that reflect
The languid angles of your neck,

Concentric rings which circle faces
With the dazzle of an oasis,

A labyrinth where a shining crack
Catches sun and throws it back,

A hall of mirrors where the day
Stumbles in, to ricochet

Like a film that ripples in the air,
Drawing golden circles in your hair,

The kindling of our body’s jewel,
With the fire in my eyes for fuel.

February 4th, 2023


I wrote this maybe thirty years ago. It seemed self-evident at the time, but now I think I can contribute an interesting fact or two which might set the scene.

My uncle John Kinkel discovered quartz, maybe in the 1930s, on his farm near the center of Bedford Village in northern Westchester County, now two hours’ drive north of New York City. He gave up farming and managed instead the quartz lode. This enterprise became the American Quartz Company, which, as far as I know, closed after the lode was exhausted. It was next door to the O’Brien farm. John married Katherine O’Brien and became my Uncle John, who sat in his green fuzzy chair and never moved. He was healthy until the day he died at 93. He only died because the doctor stopped feeding him. He wanted to die.

I used to cross the fields behind the O’Brien farm on the village green, past the willows, the ponds, the marsh, climb the hill, and then lower myself down into the Kinkel quarry, which had extraordinary quartz and mica geodes the size of grapefruits. I brought Cathy there around 1978 and wrote this poem for her, although she is no blonde, and not given to jewels. My poems are known for their discretion. Today there is a subdivision at the base of the quarry, which is, however, still surrounded by Emersonian woods. In the old days they seemed to have no end. Today I presume they end.

I didn’t put the poem on a computer until January 18th, 1993.