Across the Sarum Plain we came
Up to that place of cryptic fame,
Which centuries all sought to maim,
And yet could not bring down.
Upon a hill, between two roads,
That antique site which time erodes
Through all of history’s episodes,
Remains Britannia’s crown.
For see upon midsummer’s morn,
That which from winter’s midst was born,
Maternal Sun of solstice dawn,
Rise up, from the heel stone;
And as the summer came and went,
Cold, autumn winds began to vent
Across the land without relent
And Sun became a crone.
In winter’s depth these stones then told
Of respite soon from bitter cold:
A star reborn through clouds of gold -
A maiden to her throne.
And here, where bygone priests once kneeled,
The times and seasons were revealed
And nature’s secrets e’er concealed
Were, at long last, made known.
What other junctures, months and days
Did tell these stones in hidden ways;
This calendar marked out by rays
Now no longer measured?
Were to those men of ages past
The times of planting all forecast,
And knowledge such as this then classed
Astonishing and treasured?
Or was some altar once fixed here
By olden pagans moved by fear,
Yet gathered round to shout and cheer
In cruel, missed piety?
Hematic megaliths thus stood
As temple drenched in human blood
In mindless hope that slaughters would
Placate some deity?
Or are these stones some lasting mark
Of lives long gone - lost in the dark -
In time’s before the chisel’s spark
Could etch a name in stone.
Perhaps beneath the grass and soil
Lie what is left of those whose toil
Did lift such heavy stones to foil
A future then unknown.
Their sweat and wit have stood the test,
Of centuries and vandals’ best,
And even now these stones attest,
And to their skill avow.
And what of we, who come to stare,
What relic will we leave to share
With those who one day shall stand there,
Five thousand years from now?