Rhymed poem: 7 stanzas on the ancient Druid rituals at Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain, UK
Feast of Solstice â€“ Terri Richardson
Expectantly, we gather on this bleak, expansive plain
beneath an inky sky, links in historyâ€™s chain.
Every face is turned towards the lightening east,
upon this summer Solstice night, when the hours are least.
For long centuries, my people have gathered in this place
to feel the Solstice sun rise upon each face.
Laymen and priests following the Code,
here, in this stone circle, built in days of old.
A ripple stirs the crowd, as the skyline blushes pink.
The priests begin to chant as we stand upon the brink
of another Solstice morning, when we make our sacrifice
at the instant of the sunrise. We hope it will suffice.
The cold, gray granite looms, silhouettes against the pink,
dwarfs the waiting horde, who are staring at the chink
where the risen sun will shine upon the sacred spot
on the altar stone, where priests chant in a knot.
A roar of jubilation greets the breaking dawn.
At the piercing beam of light, night is banished, gone,
fleeing, as each face shines golden in the sun,
while the High Druidâ€™s flashing blade spills the blood of one.
The gurgling, dying scream of the victim splits the air
as the celebrating congregation witness his despair.
Euphoria dispels any lingering qualms they feel
that one solitary soul was bound and made to kneel.
Perhaps, in days to come, our gods will not demand
this sacrifice of blood, and every one can stand
together in the thrilling rapture of the rising sun,
none required to die to save the souls of everyone.
My husband used to travel on business to Salisbury Plain regularly during the early years of our marriage. We were sorting out some old photos recently when we came across a set he took on a visit to Stonehenge on Summer Solstice and I got to thinking of how it might have been millennia ago, when the Henge was first built. The poem is the result.