The stones are great
And magic power they have
Men that are sick
Fare to that stone
And they wash that stone
And with that water bathe away their sickness
Indeed the stones are great, and certainly have had the power to capture the imagination of poets and artists through the centuries.
On the 21 September 2005, the heritage journal started the anthology of Megalithic Poems, a colleague warned that we’d be hard pressed to find even half a dozen on the theme of the megalithic structures and prehistoric sites of Britain, Ireland and the European continent. Five years on and there are now some 300 poems on the blog, and an equal number of drawings, paintings, prints or photographs to accompany them.
The poems stretch over a period of some eight hundred years; from Laymon’s poem, Brut (above), of 1215 describing Stonehenge, to poems written only a few months ago. What does this tell us? Well, perhaps that not only have these structures inspired poets like Blake and Wordsworth (as well as artists such as Constable and Turner) down through the ages but also that this marvellous, mysterious megalithic heritage of ours continues to inspire us even today.
At a time when so much of our heritage is at risk through development and mismanagement (Tara in Ireland for example, even Stonehenge and Avebury) perhaps these poems, and the images that accompany them, will continue to inspire those who would take time out from busy lives to visit and ponder upon this often overlooked aspect of our heritage. Not only that, hopefully this anthology will also act as a warning that these places, built by our forefathers millennia ago, are in constant need of our care and attention lest, after thousands of years having, “…brav’d the continual assaults of weather…” (William Stukeley) they are finally lost for all time through the greed, ignorance and insensitivity of the 21st century.
Since September 2005 we’ve added many more poems and images on the megalithic theme in the hope that they’ll become a useful resource for those interested in the poetry, art and the history of our megalithic past – none of which would appear on the blog without the remarkable efforts and creativity of those who have written about megaliths or portrayed them in their work – not forgetting of course those who originally conceived and built these amazing structures! To everyone, a very big thank you. We hope you will find as much pleasure browsing through the anthology as we have taken in compiling it.
Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website