Stone Shaping – Soul Searching


March 9, 2016 by petrujviljoen

Copyright Petru J Viljoen

Laid out amongst the unwashed dishes

the files, the pencils, sandpaper

there’s no cloth on the table –

it bore some of the brunt

in notches, stains and



head bent, compulsive

intent, the task in hand

a bulwark to external expectation:


‘’I beg your leave. Sir’’

  • after first refusal.


Filing, shaping, sanding

dogged concentration –

it’s heart work forming,

… directing, bidding …

soul’s purpose.


The offer: a house, security,

firmly cited, ensconced in communal

approval, status …



  • for life.


Grinding, filing, shaping, sanding

Psyche’s yearning –

so little is a stone

moulded to own


but It would have to be –



For Dverse Poetics where Mary presents Burning the Old Year by Naome Shihab Nye. A line from the poem is chosen as inspiration. Follow the link to Dverse to read other poets’ contributions.

28 thoughts on “Stone Shaping – Soul Searching

  1. Oh.. StOne of Art..
    rock upon LoVeNow
    ExpresSinG SpiRit
    noW.. human waits..
    ah.. to SMiLe A
    oF SoUl..
    a bird who
    wILLs to fly
    no matter
    winGs now
    fly hiGheR
    Lesser Love..
    In Ocean waves LiFe..
    iN end Love Wins beGins
    in Art oF hUman FREeDOM..:)

  2. MarinaSofia says:

    Both metaphorical and physical – this difficult mission of trying to form something from the shapeless and yet so little has substance, how much of it will survive? A short, succinct poem which asks more than it answers.

  3. Grace says:

    How brave and courageous he is to focus on his craft and make his soul happy ~ Sometimes all the money and comfort are not enough ~ Love that so little is a stone, is a cornerstone of his heart & soul ~

  4. Bryan Ens says:

    Honing of one’s craft…can be painful at times, sometimes downright frustrating…but all that is worth it for those times when something beautiful (like this poem) is the result.

  5. Gabriella says:

    I too got lost in your soul searching. I see you are an artist. Are you a sculptor?

    • A wannabe. Carved these small stones, the pic one of a set of 9 and hoping to get to bigger works in wood or cement or clay or plaster of paris or … 🙂 One of these days. I’ll work on getting a clearer picture across. It took me the whole day yesterday to write that small piece. Practice! Practice!

  6. We chip away relentlessly, hoping to find that treasure in this shapeless slab of life. This is truly a grand bit of poetics!

  7. Though I also found the whole a bit obscure, there were so many parts to like. For me it held a message of allowing ourselves to be influenced by but not ruled by things outside of ourselves. The rock hard security of the stone impacted in part by all those other things without losing its core.

    • Spot on. I’ll try and take the theme a bit further in later writings. Thank you for the input. I must remember to state I invite criticism of my efforts.

  8. I see this as the sculptor’s search for the heart of a stone… so much work to find it.

  9. Mary says:

    Well penned lines!

  10. Glenn Buttkus says:

    A couple of readings, & like the soul searching for meaning, I seek the elusive thread of place, time, & message, as I became lost. I blame myself for the inability to fully understand, seeking a through-line, a message, egress; yet in the midst of the bright incongruous imagery I sense the too often a stone gets no respect, no identity or reward, even living in a pocket & being rubbed as worries mount–as metaphors scamper by me so rapidly I do not fully comprehend them.

    • Bless you for the constructive criticism.I take seriously the ”elusive thread of place, time and message.” I’m writing this one down to ponder to make the next write stronger. Promise I won’t use it against you. 🙂 … (hope he gets the reference)

  11. Jessica Ryan says:

    lovely. really.

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