birth story

five years ago the university held an open day here,
the site of a Neolithic causewayed enclosure
a series of gigantic, concentric circles picked out in chalk
‘so you could see the structure from a long way away’ he said.
now, close-up, it’s hard to see anything much
beyond the black bags, fly-tipped fridges, and brambles
although from a distance, once you know it’s here,
you can start to pick out the ghosts of a more ancient design
rippling through the landscape.


the site has been used many times
in the ten thousand years since it was built, he said
during the war, locals dug for victory
they built a radar emplacement, a racecourse
and latterly, a mobile phone mast
(barbed wire round the gantry feet,
sign saying Danger of Death)

they found a few graves, he said
a young woman,
the bones of a baby lodged in her pelvis
(he didn’t say whether they were
finally separated, c-section by trowel,
ten thousand years too late)
he did say that her grave had been skilfully cut, though,
the body placed just-so,
a halo of loom weights,
a clay pot at her feet
high status he said
and then, nearby, another grave,
an older woman, this,
pitched head first, any old how
backfilled with disdain
‘the midwife, I expect’

2 thoughts on “birth story

  1. Thanks very much, Sue!

    I must admit, I’ve got a funny, off/on relationship with poetry. I read quite a bit of it, but haven’t written all that much. I suppose I just have to produce more & ‘find my voice’ as they say – which is why I’ve decided to help things along by putting a link on the blog (because at least that way I’ll have some kind of deadline, a commitment to write…)

    Anyway – thanks again for the comment. I hope the slightly new-look site hasn’t put you off!

    Jim 🙂


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