Analysis Of Timothy Steele's The Skimming Stone

990 Words4 Pages

Timothy Steele’s “The Skimming Stone”— Pondering the Meaning of a Friend’s Early Death

In Timothy Steele’s Sapphics and Uncertainties, “The Skimming Stone” reminds readers on how death can take hold of someone anytime and how precious friendships are. This is a sonnet dedicated to Steele’s dearest friend Billy Knight, who died of a heart attack at a young age of thirty-eight. In this sonnet, Steele, as the poetic speaker, reflects back at a certain part of time in his past when he witnessed his friend Knight pockets a smooth stone. What was the significance of that very action? The poetic speaker is left pondering whether it was, perhaps, a foreshadowing of his friend sensing his early death in life and that stone for him became a significant …show more content…

Steele’s early self may have simply seen the activity as simply skimming stones; however, the Steele who has experienced the great loss of a dear friend now sees the value of that particular memory. The line “Once when the whistle called us from the shore, / You pocketed a stone.” (9-10) reveals that having spent his days skipping stones with Knight together, Steele noticed Knight did something unusual one day. Among the stones they found and skipped, at the whistle, Knight took a smooth stone with him. Steele questions the meaning behind a simple act of pocketing a smooth stone especially since it only happened once. There does not seem to be any other time Knight collected stones. He wonders what Knight might have been feeling at that moment. Perhaps, he might have already known his inevitable death will soon happen, and he seeks comfort from the stone’s smooth touch and warmth.

Steele the poetic speaker as opposed to Steele’s early self begins to ask several questions on what that stone might have possibly represented. The pauses as he asks one question after another shows to the reader that he is contemplating on each question with careful thought. From the first question “Was it for luck?”(10), the smooth stone might have symbolized a kind of hope for Knight, that he will experience life well and perhaps delay Death’s arrival. Perhaps, if this were the case, Knight might have known he will die

Open Document