Poem: Stonehenge

Stonehenge.JPG

Stonehenge

I have touched the stones.

That was an age ago,
before the fences, before the protection
from the hoards, from the threats,
before they became museum pieces,
seen at a distance,
still beautiful mind you,
still magnificent,
but something different,
less elemental,
less monumental
when you cannot stand at the base of the massive arch
and look up.

I have touched the stones,

felt their rough-hewn perfection,
felt the strength in them,
felt my place, small and inconsequential,
felt the knowing that man inspired
made this ring of rock and passion.
Other men’s gods live there.
It does not matter if they be false or true,
they live there,
now corraled by fence and neatly groomed paths.
We are all kept safe from them,
the wonder diluted.
Near enough to see.
Far enough no one can feel. Ah, but…

I have touched the stones.

About this poem

I am old enough to have gone to Stonehenge when you could walk right up to and between the great stones. Today tourists are kept at a distance, in order to protect the ancient place. I understand the whys, but something is lost.

I think the same thing is true of much religion today. It has become a show, or a history piece, too intent on self-protection to allow people to become close and intimate with God.

And something is lost. I think that is why I like being in a small church. The intimacy with each other makes possible an intimacy with God. We can touch the stones, and each other.

The same is true of personal relationships. The more fences, the less close we can be. Protection has value, and costs.

Tom

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