Bardic Poetry: Agglestone



A full stop on Studland Heath.

Devilthrown sandstone

erratic forty tonnes

tipped to one side –

like a landlocked ship at low-tide.


surrounded by a sea of golden gorse,

punk-spiked furze.

Peopleless, except for us –

two companions alone together in peace.

Cocksure, a robin lands on a branch and looks.

Somewhere, crows clear their throats.

Over the valley, the buzzing of a chainsaw.

But here, the emptiness

of a sky full of silence.

A cruiseship glides into Poole Harbour

ignored by the red squirrels of Brownsea Island.

In the uncertainty between sea and sky

the Isle of Wight floats,

the Needles ivory like the gates of Avalon –

and I imagine Tennyson sailing there with his wife,

tempest struck.

At my back, my mast in the storm,

an anchor of time,

quietly remembering.

Humans, cursed with amnesia,

leave their scrawl – a dyslexia of names

etched into red rock,

heiroglyphs of graffiti,

eroded by ice and rain and wind.

And here I make my mark –

ink on paper,

lines in the sand,

blackbird on chalk.

Finally still, after a month travelling,

sharing my land song,

and listening to those who came to listen.

Peace, after so many words.

Stillness, after so many roads.

I feel akin to the Agglestone –

carried along by a long woman

with glacial will –

moulding the mindland

and being moulded by it,

until deposited at this terminus,

weathered and weary,

but with new stories gathered to tell

around the hearth of winter.

Kevan Manwaring 23rd November-3rd December 2004 



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