Archaeologists’ Handfasting at Stonehenge
Against wind and rain, in pre-dawn dark
the wedding party troops towards the stones.
Pendragon, vestments flapping, leads
guests in waterproofs and hiking boots.
An hour’s access to the site granted,
we’re still stopped at the perimeter,
for resident guard to tell us what we know;
no touching or leaning on the stones,
umbrellas not permitted in case of scrapes.
Inside the circle, our awed party scatters. Some
look out for carvings they’ve only seen in books,
some fight the urge to lay on hands, compare
temperature of sarsen stones and blues.
Rain stops, sun appears as the druid
calls order; our assembling group agrees –
this dawn’s as good as any solstice.
From underneath her coat the bride reveals
her Celtic wedding dress with crosswork belt.
There’s poetry and Tolkien before
Pendragon consecrates the couple’s vows,
binds their joined hands with woven crois*,
declares them wed.
Applause muffled by gloves and mittens,
smiles and cheers undampened,
we disband again for one last circuit
of the stones before the happy couple,
still holding hands, leads us back
to warmth and celebrations under cover.
Pendragon hoicks his robes,
swaps headdress for helmet,
mounts his moped, riding home
to breakfast and the Sunday papers.
* traditional woven Celtic sash (pronounced kris)