This poem came from the March 5, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from janetmiles and wyld_dandelyon. It has been sponsored by the_vulture. It belongs to the series Path of the Paladins.
Ari never ceases to marvel
at the simple magic of it,
the way Shahana can pick up rocks
and put them down in a ring --
and just like that,
there's a campground,
a hearth, a home
for the night.
A circle of grass trampled flat
becomes walls and a floor,
their blankets unroll into beds,
and their roof is the black slate of the sky
flecked with silver mica stars.
It is something more than a ritual,
something less than a spell.
It is a precise progression of steps
laid out in the canticles;
it is a feeling drawn out of the heart
and spread like a rug before the hearth,
dear far memory of home.
When Shahana places her hand on the ground
in front the circle of stones around the firepit,
it is as if she reaches through the earth
to touch the very heart of it.
Ari follows her,
follows the steps,
works her way through
the same patient progression.
She does not care how long it takes:
she is determined to learn the skill of campgrounding.