Stones that move by themselves

Tried to create a visual perspective in this poem as well, like a trail disappearing into the distance in the desert.

Sailing Stones




Sailing stones

moulding trails through sand.

No-one’s seen them creeping, crawling;

invisible wraith hands heaving, scoring mud-flat tracks.

Clipper stones yawing, pitching, rolling on Racetrack Playa; artefacts of paranoia.





rally tractor beams.

Denizens of superstition.

Seems no explanation; magic, supernatural.

Then scientific rendition: frozen stones, wind-blown, float on frictionless skin of ice.


16th June 2013

Notes:  “Have geologists finally figured out how Death Valley’s ‘sailing stones’ move across the desert all by themselves?”..On the barren Racetrack Playa, a dried up lake bed in Death Valley, California, the stones move across the desert all by themselves.  The rocks, some as big as 700 pounds, leave trails in the sand, marking their inexplicable movements. Some of the tracks are nearly 600 feet long.  The ‘magic’ force behind these ‘sailing stones’ has been a mystery to scientists for nearly a century.  Now, a NASA planetary scientist believes he has finally found the answer – the rocks become encased in ice during the winter, then as the lake bed thaws and becomes muddy, the ice allows the rock to ‘float’ on the mud – making them easily blown around by strong desert winds.  It’s like a small floating ice sheet which happens to have a keel facing down that can dig a trail in the soft mud.

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