Archive 3: Bath to Stonehenge


In Bath Abbey, watching them tune
the grand piano for Rick Wakeman's concert.
Arches and buttresses pulling you up
almost against your will
toward heaven.

Having spent yesterday underground in the old Roman baths,
it's particularly dense today to know this site was a pagan
place of worship and prayer before them, and now
it's a Christian church: this same prayer circle in this same marsh
generating steam and generating prayers since the dawn
of human time.
All that soul going out like a laser

On a small patch of dry lawn, eating a Cornish pasty
with the pigeons. Laundry soap
in the city fountain. Jane Austin's house
down the road; though she hated Bath, the love her.

On the road. A sign:

Heading across the mystical countryside, we see Peter Gabriel's house.
And there's Solsbury Hill, where he climbed and decided to quit Genesis.
Thus, "I walked right out of the machinery." It's tall--no wonder
his heart was going BOOM BOOM BOOM.

We stop and walk through Lacock. Step back 700 years
in the town barn. See the house somebody in Harry Potter movies lives in.
The kids react; I don't know what they're talking about.

St. Cyriac's church. A lovely old flower lady is arranging flowers. She tells us
tales of royal weddings. Prince Charles sat right there! No, there!
The greatest redunadant sign is on the wall:
The flower lady tells us that anti-terorr sniffer dogs following Charles around
peed on the carpets.

Sword marks from when Henry VIII
had religious symbols
cut down from the church
are still visible in the walls.
Chayo goes into the cemetery and picks and apple off a tree.


Thatched roofs!

In the fields, a great white chalk horse
carved in the sod!

And real white horses that look like
they're carved out of chalk!

House sign:

Madonna's house is next door to Sting's house.
In golden fields of barley.
Chayo has never heard of Sting.
Tempus fugit.

Cheddar cheese, my kids are delighted to learn,
comes from Cheddar.

You're driving down the road, and suddenly it appears.
An apparition.

Loving Stonehenge. Blind to tourists. Deaf to traffic.
Bitter wind.
Moody low clouds.
Crows circling the monoliths.
The mad endless loops of
squabbling Pink Floyd meadowlarks.

Heinous gift store crowds--rubber Stonehenges.

6,000 years of howling in the wind.

Squadrons of crazy little brown mottled birds fuss in the clover
while I write at this forgotten bench.

Everything around me has fallen
into an eerie time loop, and it keeps repeating:
this wind gust,
the small black cloud speeding by,
the ravens bowing to the stones,
the call of the lark repeating and repeating
exactly the same over and over and over....


lakshmi (not verified)

It's eerie there. The time-loop is accurate. There's an oddness to the light; I loved it. Thanks for this. All of it. I see you are also taken with British signology. :)

Luz Nuncio Schick (not verified)

I feel like I'm right there--a travelogue with all the senses and soul pulled in.

Thanks for the beauty,


charyvna (not verified)

Really enjoyed these poetic highlights.

May K. Cobb (not verified)


Thanks for starting my day off with a huge smile! Loved the signage: "Sod the Dog, Beware of the Kids." And I've always loved "Solsbury Hill" but didn't know it was an actual place and certainly didn't know it's about Gabriel's decision to quit Genesis. So much poetry and beauty packed into this--how do you make it all look so effortless?

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Book club members have been some of my most enthusiastic and careful readers. I’m thrilled to share my work with you, answer your questions and tell you some of the stories behind the stories. This is our spot, just for us. Here, we can chat:  If I’m nearby, I’ll come and visit your club. Otherwise, we can Skype, talk over the phone or email. Sometimes, I’ll send surprises or hold contests.

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