Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Stones and poems

Carreg Samson, not three legged as in the poem but a Welsh cromlech with a very dramatic view of St.Bride's Bay

Two poems have been on my mind the last few days, the first is by Robert Bridges and is the naming of wild flowers and is rather long therefore will have its own blog, the other by John Ormond in Jeremy Hooker's (another favourite poet) book - The Presence of the Past.

John Ormond's poem is called Ancient Monuments, of which only a few verses are shown, it has that rolling timelessness through history as you look back at the landscape and see the intricate layers of history woven into the land.. Ormond is one of the Welsh poets, and Hooker also writes a chapter on R.S.Thomas's Prytherch - the archetypal welsh peasant as seen from Thomas's slightly vicarish view.....
The poem also reminds me about Solstice on the 21st December, the shortest day, but a day to rejoice in because light will begin to return to the year, and you know spring will be on its way.

Turn and look back. You'll see horizons
Much like the ones that they saw,
The tomb-builders, milleniums ago;
The channel scutched by rain, the same old
Sediment of dusk, winter returning.

Dolerite, porphyr, gabbro fired
At the earth's young heart; how these men
Handled them. Set on back-breaking
Geometry, the symmetries of solstice,
What they awaited we, too, still await.

Looking for something, I came once
To a cromlech in a field of barley.
Whoever had farmed that field had true
Priorities. He sowed good grain
To the tomb's doorstep. No path.

Led to the ancient death. The capstone
Set like a cauldron on three legs,
Was marooned by the swimming crop.
A gust and the cromlech floated
Motionless at time's moorings.

Another poem by Ruth Bidgood - Stones.
Arcadia was never here,
Ice-needles tortured the thin soil,
Spring snow lay long by the north wall,
yet the peat fire had a summer heart.
Waves of life receding left
jetsam of stone - grey megaliths
half-sunk in tussocky grass now
but still processional on the ridge above,
leading into a mystery

The top lintel of Stoney Littleton barrow, with some lavender flowers someone had left.

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