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Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The Standing Stones

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
divided it
as neatly as a butcher's cleaver
severs meat
strips meat from bone
they were the bones
the bones of some old megalith-
ic structure
eight all told
and six still standing
three in either field
and one in each laid flat
symmetrical design

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

concentric thoughts
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

other changes
caught our eyes
each one switched on
in its own time
the way a foetus grows
unhurried
progressing at its given rate
but turning time around
backtracking through the years
unravelling the decades
centuries
antiquity

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
hidden structures
processes
procedures
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.

15 comments:

Leatherdykeuk said...

Very interesting piece, Dave.
I love standing stones, the mystery and romanticism of them.

Titus said...

Addict! I'll come back to read, that looks serious...

Momo Luna said...

Very beautiful Dave! ♥

In Bretagne there were lots of menhirs....

Tabor said...

I had never thought about being a prompt addict...perhaps it comes with the compulsion for writing and mine has been waning recently. I end up writing about boring stuff just to fill space. This one really got you flowing.

Asobime said...

Just tried to leave a comment, David, and said :service not available. LOL!

Will try again...because I see two poems here..with a natural break.

Lady Nyo

Asobime said...

Ok..it's working.

I loved the simplicity of language here...and I was carried along...a little scared and teary for some reason reading this..

It's powerful and evocative...but I see two poems...a nature break where you write about Tom Shanks and his mental state.

The poem is good, very good, but I think too long to maintain a picture in the mind. However, there is nothing I can fault (or would want to) in this poem except it's very long....perhaps it's my attention span.

Thank you, David....I will read this again because it deserves such.

Lady Nyo

fiveloaf said...

i always admire longish poems that i do not have the patience to write haha! thanks david for sharing!

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Again great final stanza.
I love stones ( more or less standing, I don't mind ), I am going to put in my blog a poem I feel close to yours.

Gerry Snape said...

this is great...a poem of mystery and the past all mixed up together. I love standing stones. They speak to me not of religion or anything particularly mystical...only that they say from the past, "we were here and this will tell you so ,you people of the future.!" My favourite stones are on St. John's Point Donegal. They are in the field in front of a farmhouse, just two, and the farmer's wife has strung a washing line between them to give gher clothes a good blow in the western winds!So the past and the present come together on the edge of the land.

Jingle Poetry said...

fabulous word painting,
I am so very thrilled to see you entry today.

your poetry is solid, valid, and extraordinary....

Happy Writing.
Keep rocking.
xxx

Windsmoke. said...

That was like a fast flowing river with no ending just going on and on you've outdone yourself again amazing!. I'm struggling to write a Haiku let alone something this good but i'm trying.

Shashi said...

Its very beautiful penned David. I enjoyed it very much... and your words caught my attention like..
"a lover's serenade
as in the instant that you know
it's being sung for you"

Thanks for sharing...

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
Twitter: @VerseEveryDay
Blog: http://shadowdancingwithmind.blogspot.com

Dave King said...

Leatherdykeuk
Yes, I have a great fascination with them, also.

Titus
Probably not the best of phrases to have chosen!

Momo Luna
Thank you. Yes, so I have heard. Never had the chance to see them, though.

Tabor
I am slightly regretting the phrase. I have only got around to prompts just recently. I find them very useful on three counts at least: I tend to over-tittivate my poems, it is useful to have a deadline of a sort now and and again; I get to write poems of a sort or with a subject that I would not otherwise have attempted; another good idea is always useful!

Asobime
A warm welcome to my blog - that has happen ed to me a few times of late: I've had the Service not Available notice, written the thing again, only to find that it was recorded the first time!

I much appreciate your comments, agree with you about the length - had I not been writing to the deadline (see to Tabor above) I am sure I would have whittled it down a bit.

The comment on the language is encouraging as I did set out to pare it down as much as possible.

Thanks again.

fiveloaf
Hi and very welcome. Good to have you aboard. Thanks also for the comment. I have a tendency to write too much and then there is (normally) a legthy process of weeding-out.

Tommaso
Thanks. Shall be very interested to read yours.

Gerry
Sounds wonderful! My interest dates back to a visit I made to Avebury where there is a complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age circles. They are all mixed-up with thevillage, so to speak. One in a lady's front garden, one in an allotment, a field, and so forth. It made a big impression.

Jingle
Much thanks for your warm and generous comment.

I shall do my best to keep writing - and rocking, though the cradle is getting a bit worn now.

Windsmoke
The haiku I think is the harder task! Thanks for commenting.

Shashi
Hi and very welcome. Thanks for visiting and for stopping by to comment. Much appreciated.

Jingle said...

http://thursdaypoetsrallypoetry.wordpress.com/2010/11/08/my-sister-lives-too-far-away/

awards 4 u...

Hope that your day is filled with joy and love.
Hope to see you again next week.

xxx

Dave King said...

Thanks Jingle
I hope so too.
Every blessing to you.