The People

we paced with Neolithic
stones, round and round,
up and down, wondering,
theorising, across peat
bog and wooden causeway,
staring at skylines, hazarding.
Who knows why they are there,
or what sweat, determined
and endured beyond
aching muscles, skinned hands.
Did they pray?  Did they dance?
Did they sing?  Did they
congregate, the community discussing?
Did they bury and hallow?
Did they show off?  Did
each group build
their own?  Across what
generations?  Only the
imagination knows (the stones don't speak): unknown
vistas of people
who were us, hewing trees,
cracking stones, straining
with ropes, working together.

And the endless surge of green
curves in, across impossible
pale golden sand, all the
trees gone, the land scoured
to heather and bog.  People
nearer us died trying to
grow potatoes, or were
bulldozed off the land,
shoved onto ships.

Perhaps they themselves:  their children's children's child
the purpose of their forebears:
broke apart the stones
and tilled the land around,
the people who descended, who
did not raise these giants
looked at them
amazed, like us.

One Year Round The Sun
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