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Terry Hetherington

Terry Hetherington, poet, on the Benybont website

Terry Hetherington.     Photograph - Philip Evans

Bryn Celli Ddu


                                     They heaved and levered rock

                                            into the pattern of a mystic dance - a cypher.
                                     A fusion of tomb and temple:
                                     the spiral of stones radiated out,
                                     and swirled in,
                                     to the hieroglyphed slab at the barrow's core,
                                     with the red jasper beneath,
                                     left to smoulder for thirty five centuries.

                                     And when they felled the great ox,
                                     and buried it there, with its head turned
                                     to watch, always, the maw of the portal,
                                     were they honouring the cosmic mother
                                     and remembering a future
                                     when the primitive magic of science held sway,
                                     observing, perhaps, our benign grave robbers
                                     brush detritus from the scorched bones
                                     of young ancients?

                                     Our conclusion reached (of sacrifice)
                                     reveals only our passion for hideous drama,
                                     clutching at puny parallels
                                     with our shrieking violence,
                                     keep us initiated - even into the first degree,
                                     of exhumed mysteries.

                                     A skull here, a votive object there,
                                     wrapped and despatched ... trickles of knowledge:
                                     while wisdom lies cocooned
                                     in the moon's and the mayflower's white flame,
                                     and the Goddess gathers dust
                                     in the silence of countless museums. 

Bryn Celli Ddu: bronze age tumulus. Excavation there revealed: two pieces of red jasper, the burned bones of young people, the skeleton of an ox and a mysteriously carved stone within the chamber. The tomb had originally stood as the centre of a large spiral of standing stones.

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