Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Iron Age Palimpsest

Walk in invisible ruins
hands outstretched like dowsers
sensing with fingers
the sharp tinge, the chill
of ghosts, rise in the mind

from the air there are tracks
clear across the hill
familiar to the dead
slack-grids and contours
whorls and ridges aligned

beside the dry stream bed;
bone-delineations of a world
that imprinted its dreams
beneath the creeping bracken
and the dry-stone walls

the same sounds of the hidden
water quicken underground
the same scents teem on the air
though middens are grassy mounds
cooking-fires, gleaming furze

stand on a threshold
that reeled through days
of wedding and birth
bearing of the long-wrapped
to bedding in rough earth — look out at morning

into the same soft haze winding
along the clough — the same dawn
light that blinded the last men stepping
forlorn-furled from turf-dark
of a fast-flickering limestone night

to see silhouettes out on the stark hillsides
shouting the end of one bright green world.

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