Stonework is published by Houghton College, a Christian liberal arts college located in New York’s rural Genesee Valley. Stonework seeks a diverse mix of mature and emerging voices in fellowship with the evangelical tradition. Published twice a year, the journal reflects the arts community at Houghton College where excellence in music, writing, and the visual arts has long been a distinctive.

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  • Issue 6
    Poetry by Paul Willis and Thom Satterlee. Fiction and interview with Lori Huth. Essay by James Wardwell, and student poets from Christian campuses.
  • Issue 5
    Poetry by Susanna Childress and Debra Rienstra. Fiction excerpt by Emilie Griffin. Art from Houghton's 2007 presidential inauguration and a forum on women writing.
  • Issue 4
    Matthew Roth--new poems. Diane Glancy--from One of Us and an interview. John Tatter-on gardens and poetry. The Landscapes of John Rhett. Stephen Woolsey--on the poetry of Jack Clemo. James Wardwell--on Herrick.
  • Issue 3
    Poetry by Julia Kasdorf, Robert Siegel and Sandra Duguid. Fiction by Tom Noyes. The portraits of Alieen Ortlip Shea. An anthology of Australian Poets
  • Issue 2
    Thom Satterlee - Poems from Burning Wycliff with an appreciation by David Perkins. Alison Gresik - new fiction and an interview. James Zoller - Poems from Living on the Floodplain.
  • Issue 1
    Luci Shaw — new poems with an appreciation by Eugene H. Peterson & Hugh Cook — new fiction and an interview

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Ancient Noise of D'Etre

~ Susanna Childress

Alexandre et Theodore sont beaux et intelligents.

Janine est plus jolie que Monique.

Monique est plus jolie que Bernadette.

Bernadette est plus jolie que Amandine.

—“Learning to Compare,” Beginner’s French

It’s this. Not the silence at dusk, plumes of an anhinga

stretched to dry, and a gator’s eggs, of which perhaps two

in a batch of sixty will make it, buried in a nest of river grass. When

has anything so pert as comparison messed with the copious world,

its mangled precedence, its closing vein: my book has no section

on learning to survive. For that, I’ll enunciate Je ne vois aucun taxi though

it might come out C’est un bel arbre. Somebody’s already sung that one

and I’m thinking alligator eggs—how temperatures engender—

though the parking lot song makes sense: on this river, men played banjo,

harmonica, kazoo, they sang of salamanders, egrets, blue mullet

they could or could not catch. So why is Janine prettier than Monique,

Monique prettier than Bernadette, Bernadette than Amandine. There sit

Alexander and Theodore, beautiful and intelligent, the bastards. To a gator,

everything is a predator the first three years of its life, even its father,

and what has a mother to do but hiss and smack her tail around

even if the babes are not in need of warmth, not like me, on the porch, this

Beginner’s French lit up with colors, fonts, superlatives. After the first three years,

it’s the alligator’s turn to be predator. Works just so, the ancient noise of d’etre,

like the striated, hollow bottom of the bald cypress: widgeons wade there,

far beneath the osprey. Here there’s such a thing, but no use for, any kind

of comparison: none more lovely, none more inane—just alive, just not.