Yarnbury

by Theo Lewis

That place,
caught at the edge of sight,
ancient and lonely,
clinging to the side of the road
like a clutch of wool stuck to a barbed wire fence.

I too was held there
by forces unseen.
What kept me from striding
headlong back
into the world of cars, and people, and warm houses?

Perhaps it was the deep grassy ramparts,
rough with wildflowers,
troubled by sheep tracks that echoed their lines.
A circle,
a ring of blood, sweat and callous
dug into the English earth 2000 years ago.
It demanded time, respect.

And so I stayed,
my ear circling that lonely space,
straining for something to call up
out of the hum of the vanished years.

Perhaps it was something simpler,
but harder to understand.
The marble eyes of the sheep
as they rolled their gaze upon me?
Or the sound of those bones –
most ancient, unbending sound –
that I disturbed with my boot?
Like dice they rattled.
Strung as beads, the knuckles danced and dangled
from the crumpled leg bones.
An empty ribcage rotted by a stone, yellow with lichen.
And time pleated back on itself in that place, as it listened.