​SAND: A Poem by Fred Lape

This poem by Arboretum founder, Fred Lape, playfully meditates on both the permanence and impermanence of sand. Lape intimates that sand, over the millennia, “retains nothing long,” yet in the very long run – on its own time, so to speak – sand becomes rock, something solid, something that will endure for ages, at least measured in human time. But perhaps Lape intimates that , over the millennia, rock becomes sand again . . . . and so people, governments, even gods endure for only a time in an endless cycle.

– Nolan Marciniec

The malleable sand obeys any master.
Even the smallest wave slides it.
The heavy breakers roll brown froth,
grinding it swiftly in their jaws.
The wind sifts it over the dunes.
The feet of bathers scuff and depress it.
In it is written the passage of birds,
triangles of hundreds of little feet.
It retains nothing long, a backward child.

If persons had this malleability
governments would move more easily
and die without the yeast of growth.

But bury it deeply layer by layer,
let it lie quiet a few thousand years,
it coheres, gathers strength,
becomes blue stone for houses,
walls to separate cows or people.

Out of this sand I press with my toe
some future man may carve a god.

Summer 2019

Volume 37 , Number 2

Share this

The Latest from Landis

Jun 19, 2024

Don't Miss These Upcoming Activities at Landis!

Our calendar is well stocked with great things to do this year, but we wanted... read more

Jun 19, 2024 | Sam McClary

The Arboretum’s Battle Against Invasive Species

Invasive plants are defined as plants that are not native to an environment that, once... read more

Jun 19, 2024 | Fred Breglia

From the Director’s Desk: Where to See a Big Tree -- Locally! (Part 1)

So you want to see a “Big Tree” but aren’t sure where to start? As... read more

Jun 19, 2024 | Anita Sanchez

A Close Encounter of the Wasp Kind

​​​​​​​​One bright morning last summer, after an hour of pottering in the garden, I decided... read more

Jun 19, 2024 | Erin McKenna Breglia

From the Garden: The Ever Popular, Low Maintenance Iris

Derived from the Greek word for “rainbow“ and a frequent subject of artist Vincent Van... read more

Jun 19, 2024 | Shayne Mitchell

News and Muse from the Bluebird Trail

Nest box monitoring began on March 12 and has continued weekly. I found that the... read more

News Archive