This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features the poet Charles Simic reading his poem "Stone." "There's a cult of experience in American poetry,” Charles Simic writes; “Our poets, when one comes right down to it, are always saying: This is what happened to me. This is what I saw and felt. Truth, they never get tired of reiterating, is not something that already exists in the world, but something that needs to be rediscovered almost daily."
For a biography of the poet Charles Simic please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.
What truth can be found in a stone? What experiences can we have with a stone, and what can those experiences teach us? “Stone” seems to challenge Yugoslavian-born poet Charles Simic’s dedication to expressing human experience and the truths of living in the every-day world. But a thoughtful reading of this poem reveals that it is much more a study of human nature than rocks.
“Go inside a stone/That would be my way.” The first lines immediately put the stone in a human context; the narrator is saying that he would like to be a stone. “I am happy to be a stone.” But why? Because the stone is private—no one can know anything about what is on the inside of a stone. It has a secret, inner life that no accident or mistreatment can ruin; not being stepped on by a cow, or thrown into a river by a child. A stone, unlike a person, is hard to damage, and even if its outside is harmed, its inside is still safe, and secret—“a riddle.” Humans, on the other hand, have outside bodies that are nothing but vulnerable, easily hurt or damaged; bodies can’t hold up to accident or mistreatment without being ruined to some extent or another. We keep our precious inner lives in a very fragile container. If our bodies are damaged—and everyone has had some sort of accident that hurt them—it’s hard for humans to remain “cool and quiet”, preserving our inner lives.
Read a biography of the poet Charles Simic at the Poetry Foundation Web site.
Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.