It’s art Jim, but not as we know it.

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Mystery in the mist;

Glinting in a clint,

Offered to the mountain?

Well traveled whiteness.

Void between volcanic rock,

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Exploded out of the earth the dust settles

In water forming

Patterns of the past

Layered

In

Deep

Time

Scafell pike 13.05 15 005

A light released from the land

The hand moves to draw

With chalk of childhood

Sediment writes itself

Scafell pike 13.05 15 011

Alien fragment on lofty Pike

Released from bony white matrix

In Grimes, Wolds, Wessex or Antrim

Remote lands – with still echoes

Of times long gone

Hidden in hollow hills.

Mind wanders to downs and dales

Memories held guide the hand

Moved to make a mark,

Scafell pike 13.05 15 014

Diamond lozenges, tightening skins

Scraped by flakes,

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The beating bodhran calls

Rhythm of the wind – resonating rock

Scafell pike 13.05 15 017

Through heavy brow

Owl eyes bring a sharper focus –

Clouds clear

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Elemental tumbled sculptures emerge

Mountains making their own art

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Look close – layered,  lichen

Reflecting  clasts cast in stone

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No scribe engraved these forms.

Red rememberings of hard nicked hands that

Scafell pike 13.05 15 032

Split sharp hornstone,

Ancient prospector for mysterious XI,

Its unknown source – found?

Scafell pike 13.05 15 026

Cris-crossed with rhombic faultlines

Weathered scallops patinated to grey

Scafell pike 13.05 15 029

Crack,

Hiatus,

Time shifts

Settles again

Present

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Falling back into the earth

Joining the ancestors

Scafell pike 13.05 15 020

Scattered all around,

Crag-high memories now burnt bone offering

Crumbling to constituent carbonates

Merging with the future

Acknowledgements, notes, etc

This chance meeting with a flake of chalk took place on top of Scafell Pike, a place full of modern monuments and offerings, to the dead mainly, many of whose ashes lie around the summit cairn, and older structures that could be interpreted as monuments; the Neolithic Axe working sites. There is a continuity here in this wild place, others have discussed the offerings left by people in the Neolithic period at prehistoric stone working sites including Peter Topping, but here we have a modern offering – for reasons unknown. More recently I was reminded of this by a paper given at BRAG by Andy Merion Jones and Marta Diaz-Guardamino which directly inspired this blog following my serendipitous encounter with the white rock. The title of their presentation was Making the Mark: Imagery and Process in Neolithic Britain and Ireland and included a discussion on the Folkton Drums, below.

London 01.03.13 007

The motifs of the owly heavy browed eyes and lozenge hatching are now being found more regularly as a symbol in the Neolithic period from the West Country to Orkney.  But I was particularly impressed by the detail revealed on the Folkton Drums,see here. Although probably not actually representing drums, these were found in a Neolithic round barrow by the good Canon Greenwell in the Yorkshire Wolds, which region demonstrably had a strong connection with the Cumbrian Mountains on account of the large numbers of Cumbrian Stone axes found there, and this got me thinking…

Pete

4 comments
  1. Great article/poem?! Interesting the way you made marks inspired by past motifs with your serendipitous find; gives a sense of connectedness across time.The colours and patterns in the rock are stunningly beautiful, thanks for sharing.

    Like

  2. Finola said:

    Lovely post! The poem and the images are so evocative.

    Like

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