Archives for posts with tag: Britain

Castlerigg Stone Circle
Castlerigg Stone Circle
by Frances Daggar Roberts

There was a spirit of excitement and of fear
as we climbed to the ancient site.
I was the first to crest the hill
and stood transfixed
by the 360-degree view across the fells
through golden and green light.
Threads of pink and white striped the sky
above bright grass and huge and ancient
glowering standing stones.
Captured by magic
even our youngsters stared in silence
as though bewitched.
There was no one to rescue us it seemed,
as if the old ones were alive again
inside our breath,
under our feet…
There was no sound at all
but within the huge stone circle
we could see a slender shine of water.
We stood there together
like figures in an ancient play
4,500 years ago.
It seemed we could neither go nor stay
until, carrying the baby, we began to walk the circle
through a time beyond meaning in this ancient space.
One arm and the face of our five-year-old daughter
was just visible, like a spirit child,
behind the furthermost standing stone on the left.
The clouds had begun to move above us
both with us and beyond us
in our small drizzle of earthly time.

PHOTO: Castlerigg Stone Circle Kewsick looking towards Helvellyn by Graham Moore, used by permission. The stone circle at Castlerigg is situated near Keswick in Cumbria, North West England. One of around 1,300 stone circles in the British Isles and Brittany, it was constructed as a part of a megalithic tradition that lasted from 3,300 to 900 BC, during the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Ages. Learn more at

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My encounter with the Castlerigg Stone Circle made a huge impact on me as a result of the way it swept the truly ancient world into my understanding of human existence. Time itself acquired a different meaning because of the presence of my young family and the beautiful reality of the ancient place on which we stood. It was truly an encounter with a “landmark.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Frances Daggar Roberts is an Australian poet who grew up in a remote area where she began to write poetry to capture the love she felt for plants, animals, and landscape.  She now lives in a bushland setting close to Sydney and works as a psychologist treating significant anxiety and depression. Compassion for those who struggle with such issues has led to the frequent exploration in her more recent poetry of human need, sorrow, and resilience.


Cervantes and Shakespeare occupied almost the same lifespan. In fact, they both died on the same day, April 23, 1616, by the Gregorian calendar. Don Quixote was published in 1605, and the first edition of Hamlet was probably published in 1603 or 1604. It is as if the two men stood back to back, Cervantes looking backward and Shakespeare looking forward. Cervantes pointed his genius backward and illuminated the medieval consciousness that was just ending in Europe…Shakespeare, in Hamlet, looked forward and made a statement about the modern man who was to come.” ROBERT A. JOHNSON, in Transformation: Understanding the Three Levels of Masculine Consciousness

Illustration: “Ecce Cervantes” an entry by Brazil‘s Gustavo Berocan in The Cecilia Prize, a contest honoring amateur art restorer Cecilia Gimenez. To date, the contest has received about 4,000 entries. View the gallery here.



Poem by Fred Voss

As he has every night for 4 months Frank is reading MOBY DICK

(a novel he has read 5 times)

to Jane before they go to sleep.

Having reached chapter 72 he reads details of how a whale is stabbed and speared

again and again at close range by laughing pipe-smoking sailors until the whale

spouts blood

and rolls over and the sailors carve up its blubber and cut off

its head

and gather whale vomit.

Frank smiles and says, “Melville’s detailing of the tools and skills of whaling

is just like what I do with the machine shop

in my poems,”

as Jane sighs and bites her fingernails.


“Frank, please stop,” Jane says. “I can’t take anymore. I can’t even swim.

We’ve got to get off the Pequod. I want romance.

I want you to read to me from MY BOOK now.”

Frank winces

and reaches for Jane’s pretty little book ELIZABEH AND PHILIP

in which he has reached chapter 2 and reads

of their royal wedding on November 20, 1947

wedding presents

rings and jewelers

wedding gown with rose-and-corn-ear-patterned lace pink carnation floral decorations

chauffeurs and royal coaches and The King’s Valet

and what the Huntley and Palmers wedding cake was made of and how much it weighed

are detailed and analyzed to Jane’s smiling anglophile delight.

Frank and Jane look at the photographs of Elizabeth and Philip standing at the

Westminster Abbey altar waving out the windows of the Cinderella carriage

smiling from the Palace balcony.

“Oh wasn’t Elizabeth beautiful! Royal weddings are so romantic!” Jane gushes

as Frank writhes and slaps shut the pretty little book

unable to take any more and eager for tomorrow night

when he can get back to the fun and pleasure of reading MOBY DICK

with tattooed-all-over shrunken-head-carrying cannibal Queequeg

and a giant Albino whale

who methodically saws off Captain Ahab’s leg and drowns sailors with a slap of its tail

and finally rams and sinks the Pequod itself in the middle of the Pacific Ocean

leaving Ishmael afloat on Queequeg’s coffin

like an orphan ready to be rescued

by the ship Rachel looking for its lost sailors.

Now what royal wedding,

dear readers,

could be more romantic

than all that?


“Girl with Balloon” by Banksy

Find out more about street artist Banksy in the 2010 documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop. Lots of interesting info in this New York Times article.