Monday, 5 October 2009


All that remains
is the archway:
we suspect it was a place
of religious significance
orientated as it is
towards the summer sunrise.
Names of the dead
are written on the walls
and found artefacts suggest that
offerings, in the form of libations,
were made beneath them.

There is also evidence
of human habitation
in the surrounding area, traces
of the foundations
of long buildings (possibly
of a later date) and,
between the buildings,
avenues. These, we believe,
served a ceremonial purpose,
although it is hard to be sure.

All we can say is that
this was, most likely,
a place of great power,
a sacred place,
a gathering place,
a hub of both religious
and social activity,
a place to which people travelled
at key times of the year
to celebrate the cycle
of death and rebirth, a place
that leant meaning
to the lives
of those who built it.

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Sandra Leigh said...

Wow. That was a blast from the past - my past, that is - when I visited the Long Barrow in Wiltshire.

Rachel Fox said...

A good twist on the Stonehenge promotional material! The 'offerings' works particularly well.
This was the photo I was going to work on...then I got lost on another path...

Titus said...

The stroke of genius is the original thought, but I really like the way you've taken it. I smiled reading the first stanza, but then it gets darker for me, as the comparison breaks down and I thought of our current society's loss of meaning. So it made me sad really.
Oops, wittering, like this and it did move me.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I almost chose that photograph but couldn't really get it all together - you have managed it well - a good and unusual take on it I think.

Niamh B said...

Enjoyed reading this Dominic, you could have been an archeologist, lovely observation.

the watercats said...

hahaha!.. clever bleeda!.. I've often wondered baout our presumptions about ancient ruins etc... Marvellous thing, reminded me of the end of A.I, with the alien archealologists finding the little robot kid and the blue fairy under the sea... (dunno why!)
Great stuff!

John Hayes said...

I'll never look at a graffited underpass the same way--very enjoyable read.

willow said...

Hey, Dominic, I used this picture, too. Interesting your piece has a deathly and religious theme, as well. Excellent.

Jeanne Iris said...

Hey Dominic...another Fizter's Alley friend here...Hmmm....maybe in a simultaneous dimension, we three celebrated here, ya think? Lovely interpretation of this photo!

Poet in Residence said...

There's something about an underpass
that's always there
and never there
in my experience
the stink
too strong a word
the stench
too long a word
the almost breathlessness
of it all
that you find down there
a kind of something
that almost smells of must
and is unmoved
as in must go
no air
where streams of coloured straw will never
cease to flow

Lyn said...

So interesting..what was once teeming with life, is abandoned..but I bet you can hear the commotion as you walk through!

Totalfeckineejit said...

A very different angle of perception there Dominic(fast becoming your trade mark!)Like Titus I thought it was going to be humorous troughout but it went deeper into the dark on at least two levels with elements of truth in the misunderstanding. (though I did half smile at the 'offerings in the form of libations')
I really enjoyed this poem.Thanks.

WV is oloughth that must be some kind og archeological thing or a standing stone or sumptin ?

Poetikat said...

This is really interesting; it can almost be taken far into the future with extraterrestrial beings making these observations. I like your slant on it.

Dominic Rivron said...

SL: Great, aren't they? This photo just reminded me of being inside one, looking out. I once heard there are more ancient monuments around Avebury than there are in the famously "ancient" parts of Greece.

RF: Yes, that was the kind of material I had in mind.

Titus: I'm pleased to read it had the desired effect!

WG and NiamhB: Thank you.

watercats: I often fantasise about archaeologists finding CDs and thinking we're sun-worshippers.

JH: Pleased you enjoyed it. (Just thinking, it's years since I busked in an underpass...)

willow: I'll go and read it. It does have that aura, rather, doesn't it?

JI: I'll pop over and have a look at yours, too.

PiR: Thanks for the poem! You'll have to join TFE's weekly project...

Lyn: Thanks for this.

TFE: Pleased you enjoyed it!

Poetikat: Now there's a thought. I might try that with something else. Thanks.

Argent said...

An excellent and wittily observed piece! I was initally drawn to this pic too. I really like your take on it though.

Rachel Fenton said...

Very clever. I imagine Time Team travelling back in time to now, say fifty years into the future, and saying, nah, it was just an underpass after all, and we were a crap tv show.

swiss said...

right on the numbers for me. i was getting used to the more cryptic offerings of the last couple of weeks so wasn;t expecting this. nicely played!

Drama Queen said...

I loved this poem. Thank you.

Dominic Rivron said...

Thanks for these comments, people.