Formerly Worktown Words

Eastern Ripples by Lawrence Reed


Seahenge was a magical place for me on the Norfolk coast. Constructed by Bronze Age humans I could feel it emanating faint arcane forces. In the interest of ‘preservation’ it was moved and housed in a museum. I visited once. It was like mourning a dead body. Held in plastics, dried and waxed, surrounded by purified air, all its energy was spent.

 But I remember my first encounter, when it existed where the sky, ocean and dunes met. All natures energies and those summoned by pagan man seem fused. And I was there.


                                                      >>>>> Dunes and ocean

I trek back
loping across the long rolling littoral
of undulating dunes,
taking the old bending track,
by tall, punkish shocks
of marram grass tussocks.
The weakest breeze 
is shifting and shaping the sand
into endless swarming wavelets:
cloning the sleepy, lapping form
of the dormant North Sea;
talking to me as I walk the shoreline.
The brackish ether is rippling too,
in simple, sympathetic resonance
with the stark ocean,
a sinking Norfolk land,
and my stalking cadence.
Each rippling contour configured singularly,
like infinite distinctive letters
in some incoherent random handwriting.
Microtonal notes, each unique,
in a crashing cacophony
played by creation’s boundless band.
Shapes and sounds
wrinkling elemental skeins:
earth, water, air,
and the lingering presence
of some wary spirits I don’t care to define.
Fashioning rare granular structures
thrilling all my bare senses
           with their esoteric poise.
My whole head is a noise.
            >>>>> Henge
I sit on a softish tuft,
twisting open a frothy beer,
spilling spuming bands
on to fine silica grains.
I stroke the soaked sand
tick-tock hypnotically,
which sticks and flicks
and cuts and itches my hand.
Looking south, down the crinkled strand,
I pick out the annular band
of broken trunks,
soaked and sunken.
Spiky totemic oak relics,
At the nucleus of this henge,
like a glaring dark iris:
a hulking oak.
Half buried, roots to the sky.
A hallowed altar perhaps,
to exact or avoid some godly revenge.
             Or some incisive eye?
Created by an arcane culture
Reanimating dead wood.
Hewn and lunar-aligned,
seeking to impress some primeval order
over a cracked cosmos.
Any clues in the bronze-carved runes
erased to smooth coalsack black
by the non-human endurance
of wave and tide over myriad moons.
Now, this almost meaningless, eerie essence
lacks coherence.
But, thank the numen, I am not immune.
Soon I sense the henge’s evanescent energy pulse,
lessened over four millennia;
though the dense medium
conveying these tuneless vibrations
and how I detect them
             is deeply mysterious to me.
            Heavens <<<<<
I carefully caress a stray seed
as if it were the fragile blown egg
of some rare songbird,
feeling the pod’s outer Fibonacci patterns
and satin patina,
sensing circulated codes
from the plant that bore it,
carrying the universe of all its kind,
as it has for millions of Earth orbits,
to recreate its likeness
           and none other.
The undulating ciphers cross-relate.
A third potent beer sates my drought,
quickens my prickling, thinning skin,
restoring some queer animistic state.
              So I wait...
              Now, alternately staring...
At one part: the blazing, boiling ball
falling over the marshland crest,
low in the west-south-west,
vesting all entities
with their own internal luminescence.
At the other: my vaguest gauge
of all the dull horizon,
calling to the vast flat east,
where the glimmering matt pewter
of a million blades of war
melds with muted silver.
Block upon perspective-less block,
momentarily smothering
             all other singularities.
The rhythm of the heavens never lies.
           I wonder...
how many suns have yet to rise,
breaking dawns over this bleak sea,
before my weak flesh dies
             and my raw soul flashes free?
              And then...
How many auroras
before the coda of humanity?
            >>>>> Harrier
A marsh harrier slides
across the wide orange orb,
casting a fast, sinister shadow.
A brief, harrowing guise,
like some crippled, fallen angel:
contorted and graceless
in its fiendish reincarnation,
slashing over the dunes,
            crashing to earth.
Seconds later, unveiled and reborn
the real, aerial, material form
glides on, over the gloomy lagoon.
Making its long-tailed, elegant descent.
Arrow-true, into the glassy reedbeds.
A distant, watery, nesting mew:
emanating from an era of failed old gods
when the henge was freshly forged.
Framed eternal in the new ether
before the last few ancients withdrew.
Before the tides came.
             Before the dunes grew
             and grew.
Spirits >>> earth >>>> water >>> air.
Eternal patterns reverberating through.
Dunes and ocean >>> henge >>>
heavens >>> harrier.
More ripples than I ever knew.

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