I've got to watch that I don't become a prompt junky. I've picked up three of them these last few days and run with them all, which was not intended initially. This one really gripped me, probably because I had had this rather empty idea floating round in my mind for some time that I might write about some standing stones. Various locations came and went and still the idea did noting for me. Then came Jingle Poetry's suggestion that we might like to try writing on "Buildings Landmarks or Monuments" etc. That seemed to do it. Why or how, I have no idea. Maybe the phrase gave me a new perspective on the stones. Anyway, this is the result.
The thorn hedge ran it through
as neatly as a butcher's cleaver
strips meat from bone
they were the bones
the bones of some old megalith-
eight all told
and six still standing
three in either field
and one in each laid flat
but nature had begun to fence it in
commandeer the mound on which it stood
tough brambles scrawling over it
their nonsense verse
a mockery of what was on the stones
not that any soul
from heaven earth or hell
came near it
save a stranger with a guide book
now and then
until the day the rings appeared
crop circles people said
before they'd realised
the standing stones were central to the thought
the same thought that the megaliths displayed
the megaliths were thinking out aloud
around the circle of the stones
soon brought the people in
the clip-boards and the instruments
the cameras and the microphones
Tom Shanks was one
for all I know the only one
to hack and bleed his
way into the stones
what radiated from him
only he will know
and for the rest of us
we left the brambles undisturbed
whose scrawl had turned to script
our duty to preserve
from rune and bramble
as we turned
to eye the distant hills
the land reshaped itself.
The colours first.
Intense. On fire.
As if a van Gogh or a Paul Gauguin
had set them down
for real. To hell with paint
caught our eyes
each one switched on
in its own time
the way a foetus grows
progressing at its given rate
but turning time around
backtracking through the years
unravelling the decades
Tom was a changed man after that
changed more than we
his mind had changed
its architecture like our land
more permanent than ours.
Back in the normal fields
our normal hills returned
the trees put on once more
their workday leaves
and grass turned green again.
His mind had gone for ever.
Its malls and manor houses
brick and concrete turned to dust
replaced by mud and wattle
thatch and ditch and stone
immersed in ancient wisdoms
it was he said like poring over lilies
watching as they opened
studying their passions
how they made it to themselves
like a poem on a snowflake
melting on your tongue
for the taste buds to take in
a lover's serenade
as in the instant that you know
it's being sung for you
like a form of sexual rapture
or sex for the first time
say fifty different kinds of love
a moment out of time
speaking a new meaning
not a word of explanation
speaking straight to you
without explaining how
He who had been shallow
a shadow of a person
placing hands on stricken man
on his animals and institutions
feeling hidden structures
feeling his way clear to put them right
He could have found a flying horse
old man, mandala, lotus, wheel,
the hanging man or voodoo doll -
all myths to do the job.
It just so happens that he found
scratches on some standing stones,
a scribble of brambles and their leaves.
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