Size / / /

What we build upon this plain will grace

it for eternity, a silent ring

of watchers carved from stone.

We who know the paths of moon and star

must show the way. Thus we lead

our people forward, patient and ponderous.

We persist, though the weight be ponderous,

moving stones through the grace

of ropes and trees and weights of lead.

Throw the lines through the ring,

spread them out in a star,

and pull into place each standing stone.

The carvings on every stone

fit them together, perfect and ponderous,

tongues fitting into grooves. The day star

rises and sets; its golden rays grace

our work as we raise the ring.

Our eyes follow where they lead.

Quickly now, throw the lead!

Take the measurements, settle the stone

into its space. Every part of this ring

must be precise, however ponderous.

Only then will its hidden grace

reveal the place and passage of each star.

Solstice and equinox, moon and star—

this great circle will someday lead

the way, keeping time by its grace.

All true things are known by stone,

whose wisdom is grown ponderous

with its rounding of the year's ring.

At last, the bells ring!

The light shines; white flowers star

the green grass. The ponderous

task is done. Where we have led,

our descendants will follow, guided by stone

and the ghostly remnants of our grace.

I step into the finished ring to bury the lead.

My soul is light, my body heavy as a star stone.

I can die happy now, embraced by their ponderous grace.

Elizabeth Barrette writes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in the fields of speculative fiction, gender studies, and alternative spirituality. She serves as Dean of Studies for the Grey School of Wizardry. She hosts a monthly Poetry Fishbowl on her blog. She enjoys suspension-of-disbelief bungee jumping and spelunking in other people's reality tunnels. You can email Elizabeth at, and see more of Elizabeth's work in the books Companion for the Apprentice Wizard and Composing Magic, and in our archives.
Current Issue
25 Sep 2023

People who live in glass houses are surrounded by dirt birds
After a century, the first colony / of bluebirds flew out of my mouth.
Over and over the virulent water / beat my flame down to ash
In this episode of  Critical Friends , the Strange Horizons SFF criticism podcast, Aisha and Dan talk to critic and poet Catherine Rockwood about how reviewing and criticism feed into creative practice. Also, pirates.
Writing authentic stories may require you to make the same sacrifice. This is not a question of whether or not you are ready to write indigenous literature, but whether you are willing to do so. Whatever your decision, continue to be kind to indigenous writers. Do not ask us why we are not famous or complain about why we are not getting support for our work. There can only be one answer to that: people are too busy to care. At least you care, and that should be enough to keep my culture alive.
Issue 18 Sep 2023
Issue 11 Sep 2023
Issue 4 Sep 2023
Issue 28 Aug 2023
Issue 21 Aug 2023
Issue 14 Aug 2023
Issue 7 Aug 2023
Issue 31 Jul 2023
Issue 24 Jul 2023
Issue 17 Jul 2023
Load More
%d bloggers like this: