Friday, April 27, 2007

Stonehenge: circa 1923

The Ancient Druids

The ancient Druids offer’d to their gods
A human sacrifice; and criminals
On their stone altars bled beneath the knife
The priestly arm upraised, rudely to plunge
Into an erring brother’s living heart,
Or else, in osier cages first confined,
Expired in flames lit by some priestly hand:
And we, whose scaffolds oft have reek’d with gore
Of earth’s best benefactors; we, whose cells
Have prison’d up the patriot and divine;
And who still strangle with the hangman’s rope
To teach the sanctity of human life;
And ever study how to cheat in trade
Or kill in war with most proficiency,
Self-righteous hypocrites who but deceive
Ourselves and one another; we despise
The Druid for his paganism, meanwhile
We worship Gold as though it were a god,
And call ourselves good Christians

Peter Proletarius

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Groups of Barrows by William Stukeley

Like the floating bubbles of events drowned in time

When the ritual and whatever its accompaniment may have been of masks, effigies and offerings have vanished so long ago, when there is no stir of emotion and the ghost which keeps emotion alive, when the very people responsible for raising these mounds have been overwhelmed, absorbed and forgotten, then their detailed study can become lifeless enough. Better perhaps to look at them with knowledge but with knowledge unexpressed, these round barrows that are like the floating bubbles of events drowned in time.
Jacquetta Hawkes

Friday, April 20, 2007

La Pierre qui croule à Uchon

The Rocking Stone

Petite, a Uchon montais
Dans le bois qui abrite
La pierre qui croule
Devant le mystere tous s'esclaffaient
A qui la ferait basculer.
A plusieurs ils y arrivaient
Ravis de leur exploit.
Pourtant la pierre
jamais son socle ne quittait,
Resistant: triomphante.

De retour
un jour de mes grandes annees
Dans le silence,
En la touchant avec reverence,
J'ai bascule dans un autre monde
Vers sa realite interieure
Tel est le vrai mystere
De ces anciennes pierres.


When small I used to go up to Uchon
In the woods which shelters
The rocking stone
In front of the mystery all used to exclaim
to whom would make it rock.
Several together could do it
Delighted with their feat.
However the stone
would never shift from its base
resisting: triumphant.

Having returned
One day now in my later years
In the silence
Touching it with respect,
I went over to another world
Towards its inner reality
Such is the real mystery
Of those ancient stones.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Stonehenge by Gideon Fidler: painted between 1880-1910

The Museum of Stones

This is your museum of stones, assembled in matchbox and tin,
collected from roadside, culvert, and viaduct,
battlefield, threshing floor, basilica, abattoir,
stones loosened by tanks in the streets
of a city whose earliest map was drawn in ink on linen,
schoolyard stones in the hand of a corpse,
pebble from Apollinaire’s oui,
stone of the mind within us
carried from one silence to another,
stone of cromlech and cairn, schist and shale, hornblende,
agate, marble, millstones, and ruins of choirs and shipyards,
chalk, marl, and mudstone from temples and tombs,
stone from the silvery grass near the scaffold,
stone from the tunnel lined with bones,
lava of the city’s entombment,
chipped from lighthouse, cell wall, scriptorium,
paving stones from the hands of those who rose against the army,
stones where the bells had fallen, where the bridges were blown,
those that had flown through windows and weighted petitions,
feldspar, rose quartz, slate, blueschist, gneiss, and chert,
fragments of an abbey at dusk, sandstone toe
of a Buddha mortared at Bamiyan,
stone from the hill of three crosses and a crypt,
from a chimney where storks cried like human children,
stones newly fallen from stars, a stillness of stones, a heart,
altar and boundary stone, marker and vessel, first cast, lode, and hail,
bridge stones and others to pave and shut up with,
stone apple, stone basil, beech, berry, stone brake,
stone bramble, stone fern, lichen, liverwort, pippin, and root,
concretion of the body, as blind as cold as deaf,
all earth a quarry, all life a labor, stone-faced, stone-drunk
with hope that this assemblage, taken together, would become
a shrine or holy place, an ossuary, immovable and sacred,
like the stone that marked the path of the sun as it entered the human dawn.

Carolyn Forché

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Carnac with all its stones


Du bois de Ker-Melo jusqu'au Moulin de Teir,
J'ai passe tout le jour sur le bord de la mer,
Respirant sous les pins leur odeur de resine,
Poussant devant mes pieds leur feuille lisse et fine,
Et d'instants en instants, par-dessus Saint Michel,
Lorsqu'eclatait le bruit de la barre d'Enn-Tell,
M'arretant pour entendre: au milieu des bruyeres,
Carnac m'apparaissait avec toutes ses pierres,
Et parmi les men-hir erraient comme autrefois
Les vieux guerriers des clans, leurs pretres et leurs rois.

Auguste Brizeux (1803-1858)

From the woods of Ker-Melo up to the mill of Teir,
I spent all day along the seashore,
Breathing under the pines their resinous smell,
Pushing in front of my feet their fine soft needles,
And from time to time, beyond Saint Michel,
When was bursting the noise of the dam of Enn-Tell,
Stopping to listen: amidst the heather,
Carnac with all its stones appeared to me,
and among the menhirs were roaming like long ago
the old clan warriors, their priests and their kings.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Pentre Ifan: Image credit Moss

Cowt's Grave

This is the bonny brae, the green,
yet sacred to he brave,
Where still, of ancient size, is seen
Gigantic Kielder's grave.

The lonely shepherd loves to mark
The daisy springing fair,
Where weeps the birch of silver bark,
With long dishevelled hair.

The grave is green, and round is spread
The curling lad-fern;
That fatal day the mould was red,
No moss was on the cairn.

Where weeps the birch with branches green
Without the holy ground,
Between two ancient stones is seen
The warrior's ridgey mound.

And the hunters bold of Kielders train,
Within yon castle's wall,
In a deadly sleep must aye remain
Till the ruin'd towers down fall.

Each in his hunters garb array'd,
Each holds his bugle horn;
Their keen hounds at their feet are laid,
That ne'er shall wake the morn.

Walter Scott (1771–1832)