Leslie Norris: The Twelve Stones of Pentre Ifan


The Twelve Stones of Pentre Ifan


The wind

Over my shoulder

Blows from the cold of time.


It has

Shaped the hill,

It has honed the rock outcrops


With the

Granules of its

Rasping.  When the old ones


Were born

They dropped in dark-

ness, like sheep, and hot animals


Howled for

The afterbirths.

I watch the great stones of


Faith they

Moved in the flickering

Mountains of their nameless


Lives, and

See once more the

Points of adjusted rock, taller


Than any

Man who will ever

Stand where I stand, lifting their hope


In still,

Huge stone, pointed

To the flying wind.  The sea ebbs again


And round

The endless brevity

Of the seasons the old men’s cromlech



Its hard shadows.

The four great stones, elate and springing,


And the

Smaller stones, big

As a man, leaning in, supporting.


Leslie Norris (Walking the White Fields: Poems 1967-1980)