THE BARROW In this high field strewn with stones I walk by a green mound, Its edges sheared by the plough. Crumbs of animal bone Lie smashed and scattered round Under the clover leaves And slivers of flint seem to grow Like white leaves among green. In the wind, the chestnut heaves Where a man's grave has been. Whatever the barrow held Once, has been taken away: A hollow of nettles and dock Lies at the centre, filled With rain from a sky so grey It reflects nothing at all. I poke in the crumbled rock For something they left behind But after that funeral There is nothing at all to find. On the map in front of me The gothic letters pick out Dozens of tombs like this, Breached, plundered, left empty, No fragments littered about Of a dead and buried race In the margins of histories. No fragments: these splintered bones Construct no human face, These stones are simply stones. In museums their urns lie Behind glass, and their shaped flints Are labelled like butterflies. All that they did was die, And all that has happened since Means nothing to this place.Above long clouds, the skiesTurn to a brilliant redAnd show in the water's faceOne living, and not these dead." — Anthony Thwaite, from The Owl In The Tree
Many questions come to mind. How influenced by contemporary religions were many of the scholars who wrote the texts available today? How many scholars have simply assumed that males have always played the dominant role in leadership and creative invention and projected this assumption into their analysis of ancient cultures? Why do so many people educated in this century think of classical Greece as the first major culture when written language was in use and great cities built at least twenty-five centuries before that time? And perhaps most important, why is it continually inferred that the age of the "pagan" religions, the time of the worship of female deities (if mentioned at all), was dark and chaotic, mysterious and evil, without the light of order and reason that supposedly accompanied the later male religions, when it has been archaeologically confirmed that the earliest law, government, medicine, agriculture, architecture, metallurgy, wheeled vehicles, ceramics, textiles and written language were initially developed in societies that worshiped the Goddess? We may find ourselves wondering about the reasons for the lack of easily available information on societies who, for thousands of years, worshiped the ancient Creatress of the Universe.