Stone Telling

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Newton's First Copy of Euclid

Stourbridge Fair, 1661

by Benjamin Cartwright

The voices of the small
in the bookstalls pulled Isaac
into their orbits of mathematics, and spoke
until he spoke star, like a native.

In the bookstalls (pulled) Isaac
felt direction; the gravity of churches,
until he spoke.  Stars like natives
shine on the familiar below.

Felt-direction—the gravity of churches—
muffles the nascent thoughts; makes yokes;
shines on the familiar below.
Rats' soft feet make ellipses in the bookstalls, in the dust.

Muffle the nascent. Thoughts make yokes
the voices of the small
rats' soft feet.  Make ellipses in the bookstalls, in the dust,
in their orbits of mathematics and spokes.

Benjamin Cartwright lives in Lawrence, KS where the ghosts of John Brown and William S. Burroughs discuss firearms. Ben is the volunteer coordinator for AboutSF and produces the AboutSF AUDIO podcast. Ben's poems and prose poems have appeared in Sentence, Prick of the Spindle and The Stinging Fly. He is currently at work on a mixed-genre book of poetry and prose inspired by his time living in Tianjin, China. Ben blogs at a snail's pace at

Read Benjamin's discussion of this poem over at the Roundtable!

Photography: Shoulder Elements, by Dave C.