Friday, September 30, 2005

Stonehenge: Watercolour and pastel by Peter Herring

Are the stones ever silent now?

Are the stones ever silent now?
Does the lark still climb and the kestrel stoop
While snails embrace in slimy love?
Is there yet a silent second when
No jet planes scream or lorries growl
Or tour guides tell it wrong again?

Are the Stones ever silent now?
Does the harebell ring and the stonechat chat
While bees drink deep from golden gorse?
Is there yet a precious moment when
No cam'ras click or turnstiles clack
Or ice cream melt in sticky hand?

Are the Stones ever silent now?
Does the solstice crowd and the Druids' chant
Not know respect and silent prayer?
Is there yet a switched off mobile 'phone?
Can people come on foot - alone
With no barbed wire or entrance fee?

Are the Stones ever silent now?
Does the solstice sun and the wand'rin moon
Not tell the Stones to wait a while?
Wait 'till the noisy parasites
Are dust on the wind that they create
And silence shall come to the Stones.

Peter Herring

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Piggledene. Image credit Bozzer

Valley of Dreams

Quietly now lies our Valley of Dreams
summer's dew so quickly turned to frost.
Sprinkled white on every sleeping stone and blade of grass.

So still
but for the silent fall of winter
from each dark tree and hawthorn hedge.

Was it really here
on some bright summer's day
that you and I gave this place a thousand names?
And walked
And laughed and held each other a little while?

Sleep on secret stones.
Dream your dreams of burning suns
summer blown trees and parakeets.

Dream then
of that silent creeping darkness.
Those unending winters of screeching ice
pushing inch by inch
your frozen bodies
across frozen hills.

To this warm
secret little Valley of Dreams.

Dream of a time long gone
when they came to haul you back again
inch by inch
to some proud new place in the sun.

Was it really here
that you and I walked
and laughed
and gave this place a thousand names?
Where I held you a little while
and wanted to say how much I loved you?

Such a tiny sentiment.
Such a silent drop of time
in this Valley of Such Antiquity
in this Valley of Frozen Dreams.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Rollright Stones by Godfrey Higgins: circa 1829

The Rollright Stones from Drayton's Poly-olbion: 1613 edition; pp 222, Thirteenth Song

As an vnlettred man, at the desired sight
Of some rare beautie moo'ud with infinite delight
Not out of his owne spirit, but by that power diuine,
Which through a sparkling eye perspicuously doth shine,
Feels his hard temper yeeld, that hee in passion breaks
And things beyond his height, transported strangely speaks:
So those that dwell in mee, and liue by frugall toyle,
When they in my defence are reasoning of my soyle,
As wrapt with my wealth and beauties, learned growe
And in wel-fitting tearmes, and noble language showe
the Lordships in my Lands, from Rolright (which remains
A Witnesse of that day we wonne vpon the Danes)
To Tawcester wel-neer: twixt which, they vse to tell
Of places which they say do Rumney's selfe excell.

Silbury looking west from Waden Hill

Nothing more for my pillow: London and Avebury, 7 July 2005

I climbed Waden Hill a while ago, up from the Avenue past a clump of hawthorn and a badgers' sett.

The corn hadn't grown too high yet and the year was still to begin. A couple of larks had decided to build a family there, scurrying and tweeting and still not too sure how to proceed. I puffed and ambled to the summit and there by a wooden post stopped and set down my soul. Below stood Silbury Hill, stunningly wondrous and lovely in the midday light.

I will not flee from explosions and insanity, nor fall into the foolishness of conceit. I will climb the hills and paint myself amongst the imaginings of it all. Peace, poetry and stillness, and nothing more for my pillow.