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The Menin by Paul Nash (1889-1946)

An ‘umble presentation milords, ladies and gentlemen by Littlestone.

’twas the night before solstice
when all through the land
not a stone stood standing not one to be found.
The Druids and bards had all done their best
but greedy developers made sure of the rest.

Ancient stones were fired and set into walls
while some lay silent under churches and halls.
Ditches were filled and banks cut down
and barrows were ploughed without even a frown.

Once where the sun had shifted and shone
now shadowy memories of stones long gone.
Cold banks and ditches and barren wet holes
were all that remained of the megaliths’ souls.

Trucks now thundered through circles once clear
while builders and quarrymen smashed without fear.
’twas like seeing an oak cut down in its prime
the terrible things done to our stones at that time.

Then came a cry for the wise-ones to stand
against the destruction of stones in our land.
A gathering of minds at info@heritageaction.org.uk
came to the rescue and into the fray!

Yeah!

There were Swifts, Wallies and Norfolks and others untold
standing firm against wreckers evil and bold.
There were big stones and little stones all having their say
but one in particular stood proud that day.

Squonk! was his name standing true and sound
and declaring to those both here and around
that ‘henges’ and ditches and banks to be sure
are part of our heritage and our hearts and much more!

Yeah!

LS (with apologies to Clement C Moore).

NB I first became interested in our prehistoric heritage through The Stones Mailing List, hosted by Chris Tweed (Squonk) and encouraged into lively debate there by people such as Andy Norfolk and Wally. Sadly the The Stones Mailing List is no more but thanks, still, to Chris and former contributors to his List – to them a Happy Winter Solstice, and warm season greetings to all who care about our prehistoric heritage from me and everyone else on the Heritage Action team. Yeah!

Laura Barton, writing in the Guardian yesterday, reports on the route of the high-speed rail link that –

“At stake, too, is the preservation of the Ridgeway, Britain’s oldest road — a pathway followed since prehistoric times by herdsmen, travellers and soldiers, running from Wiltshire, along the chalk ridge of the Berkshire Downs and on to the River Thames at the Goring Gap. It passes the stone circle at Avebury and the White Horse at Uffington, as well as Grim’s Ditch, Wayland’s Smithy and Barbury castle. It runs, too, right down Wendover high street, past the clock tower, built in 1842 and now repurposed as the visitor centre, then out towards Wendover woods. There is an ancient feel to this land, something rich and deep and solemn.”

More here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/dec/20/heartache-over-high-speed-railway

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