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As all that is solid melts to air and everything holy is profaned...

Monday, June 06, 2005

Patterns of the Past

To see the actual place described in this poem, look at http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/post/20720

The 'modern' reflection of the ancient carvings is shown in thebottom left hand corner of the web page

High Banks Cup and Ring Marked Rocks - August 2000

The past is not dead, but lives in every moment of our being
the patterns in the rock are ripples of desire, ripples in the quantum ocean
they are at once our flesh and the world, which contains us, constrains us
even the thoughts and beliefs, the imaginings : all are patterns.

The land is not dead, but lives in each blade of grass, each handful of earth
is world enough, is suffused with life and time
the heron's pool an ocean vast, each layer of mud and silt
is a horizon wherein the pollen grains persist- they resist decay.

So we construct our imaginings of other landscapes
made by others lives, burnt bones within fired clay
in the silence of this place, a green field open to the sky.

voices murmur - whose are the voices
what do they say, ancestral voices, or the whisperings of the land?
Galweia is the land, the rock, the earth, the rivers, the lochs, the streams
the patterns on the rock are marks upon her bones
her speech is slow and deep, we measure her age in millenia
the fierce heat of her passion crystallised in granite
Mullwarchar and the Dungeon Hill, the three Cairnsmores, Criffel, Screel, Bengairn
her granite limbs entwine Merrick and the Rhinns, through which her waters flow
Deugh and Ken, the Cooran Lane - all gathered up by the Dee
fresh waters mingle with salt in the rhythmic dancing of the sea.

Of the Solway Firth, driven by the moon's gravitic pulsing
in a ceaseless motion forth and back, ebb and flow
storm driven white flecked faster than horses over the sand
or slow gentle ripples in the mist.

Panthea is all the life that lives with Galweia's embrace, her voice
the sighing of the wind in a tree, the cry of a curlew in the night
she is the grass the cattle graze, she is the milk and meat they give
she is a salmon in the stream
she is the voice of the new born child
her's are the bones the cairn entombs
her eyes saw the glaciers retreat
her eyes saw Rome's legions advance
her wisdom carved the recumbant rock
she is the lichen upon it still.

For all the knowledge we have found, yet still we depend upon her gift
standing here on this fertile ground
without the gift of life there would be but barren, sterile rock
without the presence of the past no marks, no patterns, no memories
no voices of the land, no voices of the ancestors
to speak to us in symbols unknown.

We of the present stand for ever poised between past and future
lives lived out within the narrowest of archaeological horizons.
Here we may gaze in curiosity at some patterns on a rock.
Are we so certain of ourselves and our time that we can define the past
within the limits of our knowing?

Our actions are an answer, patterned in a wordless map carved in stone which stands beside and with the other patterns. Circles reflect circles, image mirrors image, symbol speaks to symbol, past to present, present to past... in so doing past speaks to future through the present. Thus the gift of mystery is exchanged and renewed.

Thus "The world already possesses the dream of a time whose consciousness it must now possess in order to actually live it".[Guy Debord]

Sic hominum cuenos graui de morte uocatos
Duxit ad astriferi rutilantia sidera celi
["Thus many were summoned from grievous death to the golden glowing constellations in the starry sky." From the Miracula Ninia Episcopi written at Whithorn in Galloway, late 8th century.]


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