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

Monday, May 07, 2007


~David Landrum


The church where Robert Herrick served as vicar

blackens in the rain, cold as its own stone,

empty as the silences of hope or doubt.

All flesh is sodden wood, not grass:

musty, encumbering even when it goes

to gather rosebuds or to bring in May.

Under streaking clouds,

dark sanctuary, blank graves,

oak door grit-stained from pilgrim touches

stand like stones washed in a stream.

Herrick once threw his sermon in a fit of rage

at his snoring, farting, whispering congregation.

Down the road, sawyers cover new-cut wood

with blue tarpaulins to seal it from the damp.


Somewhere in the church graveyard he is dead,

the place of his plot lost amid

epitaphs erased by wind and rain

where he himself was minister long years.

No surprise in this, since he said he could

utterly forgotten lye

and poetry would be his pillar, his monument

that never would

decline or waste at all

But stand for ever by his own

Firme and well fixt foundation.

In those pig-lands, the mucky soil shit-slurried,

clouds tossed over the endless tracts of field,

he wrote, as if poetry could be salvation,

could come like Christ leading the hosts of heaven

and bring him from the meadows and ditches of

loathéd Devonshire. That place

wore long and hard on him,

as he remembered the alehouses of London,

where he drank with Ben Jonson at the Sun

The Dog, the triple Tunne.

Yet Jonson does not mention him in letters or memoirs.

And none of his circle wrote Herrick's name. His absence

yawns like the empty fields around his place.


Wit could not free him, though he said,

God I love wit. His poems came at the wrong time,

as fratricide plowed every English shire.

No one noticed his book piled in the stalls.

The din of tracts and pamphlets silenced him.

A Puritan supplanted him, took his pulpit and his church.

He fled to London (not unhappily), a true-borne Roman,

to a ten-year exile but no reward for it. He found

his way back to Dean-Bourne, rocky creek,

unstable waters, to live obscurity.


He lived to eighty-three. Twenty-six years of his life

his poetry gathered dust in London's stalls.

The seasons rolled again, the liturgy, the holidays,

the land settled to peace, new fads and crazes came,

and Herrick preached and wrote and read and died

until men with powered wigs years afterward

picked up and read his curiosity, turning the obscure pages,

seeing his lines, Gather ye rosebuds while ye may

Old time is still a-flying and wondering, those antiquarians

who made their inquiries about this poet.


Under the soil time flies: the roots that leached his ribs,

took out his flesh, carried his body back to loam. He once said,

Putrefaction is the end

of all that nature doth intend.

The slow roll of seasons confirmed as much to him.

In his decline he only saw (dim-sighted)

sights dull anyway—not knowing

his pillar of fame would rise.

It lay, like him, bound up in undug rock.