I’ve just finished reading the poet and novelist Adam Thorpe’s book On Silbury Hill. His language, and the way he weaves the cloth of this book, is simply spell-binding. You could say the work is part exploration of the sacred landscape of Wiltshire, part personal memoir, part musings and meditations on the peculiar place we as a society find ourselves in today, but that does little justice to this inspired contribution to literature designed to uplift and feed the human soul. No wonder it was featured as a BBC ‘Book of the Week’ last summer. Adam Thorpe starts and finishes, and keeps coming back, to the subject of his book’s title – Silbury Hill – revealing ever deeper and broadening resonances and connections – doing what William Blake urged us to do: ‘To see eternity in a grain of sand’. He shows how the contemplation of a pile of earth in the Wiltshire fields can lead to any time, and any place.
Here’s just a short excerpt. After meeting some Pagans celebrating Samhain at West Kennet Long Barrow: “That night in bed, mind racing from my few hours in the parallel country of pagan enchantment that has never really gone away – like a guardian of the island’s damaged fabric – I picture Silbury’s great chalk-white hulk as it was back then, as sometimes we can glimpse it now when the grass is covered by snow.” Read more about it here.