Katharine Lee Bates

(1859-1929 / United States)

At Stonehenge Poem by Katharine Lee Bates


Grim stones whose gray lips keep your secret well,
Our hands that touch you touch an ancient terror,
An ancient woe, colossal citadel
Of some fierce faith, some heaven-affronting error.
Rude-built, as if young Titans on this wold
Once played with ponderous blocks a striding giant
Had brought from oversea, till child more bold
Tumbled their temple down with foot defiant.
Upon your fatal altar Redbreast combs
A fluttering plume, and flocks of eager swallows
Dip fearlessly to choose their April homes
Amid your crevices and storm-beat hollows.
Even so in elemental mysteries,
Portentous, vast, august, uncomprehended,
Do we dispose our little lives for ease,
By their unconscious courtesies befriended.

Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010

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