Holme

It sounds like home.

It’s a morning walk on a Norfolk beach,
wind strewing salty seaweed
like hair on a northerly breeze.

The flatness hid the traces.

It was a sea henge with an upturned oak stump
at the centre of a Bronze Age ring of trunks:
fifty-five split and ancient hearts of oak.

And hearts were split.

Some thought of knowledge and archaeology,
while others clung to tourism and money,
and some believed in its sanctity.

A burial site open to sky and sea.

The trees had been felled in spring or early
summer, the labour of a whole community,
working together on the salt marsh.

Over four thousand years,

it had shifted to the beach,
hidden among sand and peat –
until an axe head gave it away.

Kim M. Russell, 25th January 2021

23 Sea Henge Photos and Premium High Res Pictures - Getty Images

My response to earthweal weekly challenge: Deep Time

Brendan says that we ‘live amid aeons’ and tells us about the sand beneath his house, the Appalachian mountains, and water about 25 thousand years old. He writes about our 3- million-year legacy of homonid existence and mammals dating back 200 million years, goes even further into time and space and then returns to the ‘deep time’ of the underland, which he describes as ‘a radical perspective, provoking us to action not apathy.’

Brendan wants to see what happens when we focus our poetic eyes on the presence of deep time. He asks about places where we have experienced it, such as a beach or primeval forest, and invites us to observe places in which ‘time is inverted, a life becomes aeons and forever exhales in gasp’, whether geologic, glacial, human or poem.

Brendan has shared two poems to get us started: ‘Becoming a Forest’ by Ama Codjoe and ‘Formaggio’ by Louise Gluck.

21 thoughts on “Holme

  1. Magical! Sanctity is the word. Places like this should not only be preserved, but they should be protected and respected. That means keeping Joe Public, litter bins, fast food merchants, toilet blocks and car parks right away!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ron. We are so lucky to have many historical and archaeological sites like this not far from us. In comparison with the United States, everything is close to us!

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  2. What an amazing find and a wonderful poem describing it! I like the way you present the differing responses:

    Some thought of knowledge and archaeology,
    while others clung to tourism and money,
    and some believed in its sanctity.

    Human nature, I suppose!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the alternation of one- and three-line stanzas it has a tidal rhythm. Amazing what the earth reveals of our former brethren. Great sense of entering the mystery and the holiness of the place where only stumps remain. I wonder how many more of these shoreside henges there might be, might they be related to crannogs? And these must have been the kissing cousins of the bluestones at Stonehenge, cut from the hearts of oaks. Thanks so for bringin’ it, Brendan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Brendan. There was a Holme 2 not far from Holme 1, and I expect there are more to be discovered further along the coast. It’s amazing what has been found on the Norfolk Coast – Doggerland, mammoths and other exciting things. When the pandemic is over (I can’t say ‘if’), I want to visit as many museums as possible in this area. I already visited one in Cambridge and another in Ely, I’ve been to Norwich Castle several times but there is always something to see there. Holme 1 is at King’s Lynn, a museum I haven’t visited yet.

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      1. Gosh – it must be strange to see such ancient wonders being revealed but know the only reason you can now see them is because of he encroaching sea. I saw a TV news item last night about rising seas eating at some the world’s low lying cities and habitats already. Truly frightening!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah, beautiful. I wrote about trees coming down too – deep time being done away with in the interests of Now. Sigh. Love the photo……..I love the interesting logs and driftwood that wash up on the beach, each with its story.

    Liked by 1 person

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