Newgrange, County Meath, Ireland, 2015
by Julie A. Dickson
To stand before an ancient mound
on the Irish countryside,
stones hewn and balanced,
silent structure stands sentinel,
cavern in deep darkness—
but for the winter solstice, waiting
for early morning light to
Illuminate the ritual altar.
If I almost close my eyes
I can imagine the Druid priests
rowing across deep blue water,
walking on rough paths
to the sacred mound
as the early morning light enters.
I stood where they stood once
awaiting their illumination
PHOTO: Newgrange passage tomb, County Meath, Ireland. Photo by MNStudio, used by permission.
NOTE: The Newgrange site consists of a large circular mound with an inner stone passageway and chambers. Human bones and possible grave goods or votive offerings were found in these chambers. The mound has a retaining wall at the front, made mostly of white quartz cobblestones, and it is ringed by engraved kerbstones. Many of the larger stones of Newgrange are covered in megalithic art. The mound is also ringed by a stone circle. Its entrance is aligned with the rising sun on the winter solstice, when sunlight shines through a roofbox located above the passage entrance and floods the inner chamber. Watch a National Geographic video about the site here.
PHOTO: Entrance to Newgrange, and one of the site’s stones engraved with megalithic art. Photo by spudmurphy, used by permission.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The 5,000-year-old Stone Age, Neolithic Newgrange passage tomb is located in Boyne Valley, County Meath, Ireland. At the Winter Solstice, sunlight illuminates the inside of the tomb, which is believed to be part of an ancient burial ceremony. It was a fascinating place to visit, knowing that Newgrange is older than Stonehenge and the pyramids in Egypt.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Julie A. Dickson is a New Hampshire poet whose work addresses nature, current events, animal welfare, elephants in captivity. Her poetry has appeared in various journals, including Ekphrastic Review, Poetry Quarterly, Blue Heron Review, The Avocet and The Harvard Press. She is a member of the Poetry Society of New Hampshire, and has coordinated workshops as well as 100 Thousand Poets for Change. Her full-length works of poetry and Young Adult fiction can be found on Amazon.
PHOTO: The author as she kicks the wall, Blackrock Point, Salthill Promenade, County Galway, Ireland. The tradition is supposed to bring good fortune.