Saturday, October 17, 2009

Let no hand of man

And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.

Exodus 20:25
Our curious cromlechs! Let no hand of man
Destroy these stony prophets which the Lord
Has placed upon the tarns and sounding downs
With tones for distant ages.

John Harris (1820-1884)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Old Sarum

Searching for a picture of the past

Cathedral, bank and ditch.
Four thousand years at least
of our hands upon the land.

And should a little gold glimmer in the ground
be picked and paraded and brought all about
to this and that or something other
gladly glimpsed and remembered of what went before
for more good gold in fleeting hands
while both rewarding and offending.

The wakeful dreamer searching for a picture of the past
lays down his glossy pages
and considers the lost now discovered
and wonders at the wonder of it all...


Thursday, October 01, 2009

From Cromlech's summit grey. Image credit William Stukeley

Beth Pennard or The British Chieftain's Grave

The feet beneath the verdant glade
by Bards a narrow cist is made
yet ample to contain
Those listless limbs, in speed and force
Which rival'd once the fleetest horse,
Light bounding o'er the plain.
Now filled the hallowed cup of clay
Withdrew from Cromlech's summit grey
Last night procured in locks of wool,
Filled it with care and filled it full,
Such beverage suits etherial sprite
Ere it ascends to realms of light.
Place it contiguous to the head
And o'er its mouth a covering spread...
To a kind chief, who will revere
A chieftains relics buried here
One who with us delights to ken
The ancient works of Celtic man;
Who makes their labours by his own
Survive, when falls each magic stone,
or roaring midst the hills and groves,
View scenes which every Druid loves
The cup our benefactors hand...

John Skinner (1772 – 1839)