Alignments at Carnac

the whole space is thus measured by a system which is
both human and solar - Jean-Pierre Mohen

These rows of stones prove only themselves
but still break surface, traverse the compass
east to west, gain height and weight:
a risen spine before the dive
into the empty space of the skull.

Their lost alphabet
blown apart, split and spilled,
ploughed in breath for six millennia,
dust in a Breton throat:
Ménec, Kermario, Kerlescan.

These are the shapes
of vanished mouths.


We’ve found their gracile bones:
the light build, but large hands,
adolescent skulls, broad faces,
the small feet that trod down trees
to clear space for the mind.

We’ve lifted sea-green necklaces
over their heads, clam and cowrie
shells from their ribs, washed
their jadeite axes smooth as fish,
glued together goblets left
to slake this parched afterlife.


The heat of the day is coiled in the rock.
I’ve come looking for a silence
where I can plant a language, listen:

hear each stone bud a syllable,
gather volume, alert the land.
Hear the sun tread its pinion,
light sung into the hollow west.

Snakes carved in granite
ripple with their new grammar,
lizard whispers in a mouth
of gorse, broom, heather.


The proof of another faith:
even today, after dark,
the stones are warm as blood.

Gregory Leadbetter

If you've any comment on this poem, Gregory Leadbetter would be pleased to hear from you.