Story of the Stones

Story of the Stones

As we drive over the rise, the drizzle dies
and a hazy sun shimmers across Salisbury plain—
we walk through the tunnel, toward the ring of stones
cordoned off like a quarantined island:
we, the sea, they, dry land.

Like us, these stones are strangers here,
these trilithons, bluestones and sarsens,
mauled by men and hauled miles down
river Avon and river Kennet and over hills
from the downlands where wise Merlin’s bones
were laid to rest, or so the guidebooks tell.

I cruise in a canting arc like a vulture,
feeding on the surrounding dead silence.
The other tourists fall into a ring like statues
with headphones, hearing canned voices drone on
about the Windmill people, and the Wessex,
but I’m listening to the stones listening–
my heartbeat quickening.

Darkness descends like a hungry blade—
white-draped druids circle and chant,
collarbones adorned with hammered gold.
Bronze daggers flash in torchlight,
shape-shifting stars wheel overhead—
Beneath a black moon a cry slices the night,
blood pools in the stones’ pores.

I’m next: the harshness of sarsen abrades my spine,
the scent of wet copper infuses my nostrils.
Against the sky fragmented by mighty antlers
the white stag’s head, bronzed by firelight
appears in my crescent of sight—the world
spins on its axis for one more breath—
sunlight floods my tear-filled eyes—

The altar stone lies prone and broken now,
flecks of mica catch light from the pale sun.
The sunstone stands useless to one side—
nothing left but the skylark’s mocking song,
the stag’s infinite dark gaze in my mind.

 

Beatriz F. Fernandez’s chapbook, Shining from a Different Firmament (Finishing Line Press, 2015), was featured at the Miami Book Fair International last year. She’s a former grand prize winner of the Writer’s Digest poetry award and Pushcart nominee; recent credits include Thirty West Publishing House, FLARE: the Flagler Review, Stonecoast Review, and Words Dance. Contact and updates: www.beasbooks.blogspot.com or @nebula61.