Victim of Distance
You can no longer walk among the stones like druids,
or feel the ancient texture on your fingertips.
There are paths and barriers and watchers
to protect the monoliths from the likes of us.
And so you see them, these stones of history,
and you ooh and ah like the tourist you are,
but you will never feel their power,
and the awe is lost. They have become a postcard
instead of the temple created to connect sun and soul.
You see. You leave, a camera full of memories,
You leave unchanged,
a victim of distance.
About this poem
On my first trip to England, you could still walk among the stones of Stonehenge. They have since redone things there and you can walk around the circle of pre-historic stones, but not among them.
I understand the reasons why. I remember that first trip to Stonehenge. It was dark and almost rainy, and we walked to and through the towering stones. Standing next to them, you felt dwarfed and the idea that these huge blocks were moved from far away Wales was awe-inspiring. You could not help but touch them, and feel the texture of them.
Millions and millions of touches later, I am sure there were repercussions.
Add to that our current world of terrorism and tendency to destroy in our desire to make our points gives the people who protect treasures nightmares. Of course, they keep us all at a distance.
Still, something is lost in distance. I took my kids to Stonehenge a dozen years ago and while it was no doubt impressive to them, they will never experience that sense of being overpowered by the looming stones. Part of the majesty, the power, is lost.
Distance does that. It is hard. Full intimacy, awe, deepest love, faith, are all hard when we are not allowed, for whatever reason, to be close.