This March day is replete with the bright warmth
of spring and ewes bleating for their lambs.
Cropped, walled grass rolls like a green, chequered sea.
The name translates: ‘Hillock of the black grove,
the dark cell’. The sacred trees have gone:
with the Druids, out-run by Rome’s legions;
and the wheat fields, which fed all of Cymru
before the Plantagenets came. High ground
and megalith survive: sign-posted, fenced.
A passage of shale slabs opens on a round
chamber, holding this afternoon’s sun
like a child: stones dressed five thousand years ago
and angled exactly north east south west.
My fingers explore incisions that could be
accident or arcane inscriptions.
South east, beyond the straits, the horizon
is mountains – volcanic, sandstone, slate, shale –
unmoved for hundreds of millions of years.
Working – with bone, flint, empiricism
in wood, earth, stone – death is imminent
and a nonsense. Graffiti are triumph
and denial. This pasture was arable,
oakwood, ice. This hand’s span, which dies with me,
stretches from long, long before the Flood.
Note: the poem was originally published on the site in September 2009.