Near Black Combe hill a treasure of the seasons
offers an artwork in a circlet of grace.
With its own runic strength it lights the land,
a coronation of the commonplace,
an old jewel of the elements. Far back
at the other end of time I see a lifting,
a settling-into-place of the great stones
in the black earth. Then an imprecise shifting
for some; the disappearance of a few;
as all the while an earth-force holds together
a document of beauty. A word of old,
witnessed by day and night, and the long weather,
whispers the impulse of a sovereign power,
a world beyond our human agency,
to find tall patterns, scribble a concert in stone,
scatter the notes of a great symphony
on a blank sheet. It made us: we made this.
The cosmos has the inkling of a mind
that we dip into. All we shall ever do
is no more than these boulders leave behind –
and yet the great star-rocks will circle on;
and more, and other ways of knowing will be.
The founding reasons of an unbroken line
of stones include a line of poetry.
I write within the shelter of their arms.
If one may echo then, in a ring of words,
a master-sound, one is no nearer yet
than the far-distant trees, than the high birds,
and still as close as a nearby ewe and her lamb,
to the old that hides the new. In a poor verse
I bow my head before a burnished crown,
a throne set in a field, a universe.

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