Dolmen – a poem by Marilyn McCabe


– Gavrinis, France

Arcs and arrows flicker in torchlight,
chipped deep into granite and quartz.
Cautionary tale, psalm, intercession to the gods,
or an accounting perhaps of days and the earth’s
trembling here, the hard bargains of water and rock.

Meaning has been lost, though the makers were
tapping so loud to be heard. We still misunderstand:
instruction misread, word misconstrued, and deed.
Hands flap empty signs, or they mean too much.

Our babble still builds a rickety tower,
and we come no closer to god.
This may be a grave where the dead are led,
bones melt back to soil. Or is it a birth passage:
from this dark mouth might a new god rush forth?


Marilyn McCabe‘s work has garnered her an Orlando Prize from A Room of Her Own, the Hilary Tham Capital Collection contest award from The Word Works resulting in publication of her book of poems Perpetual Motion, and two artist grants from the New York State Council on the Arts. Her second book of poems, Glass Factory, was published in 2016. Her poems and videopoetry have been published in a variety of print and online literary magazines. She blogs about writing and reading at


  1. rivrvlogr says:

    Your link for Marilyn’s site is missing an “n.”


    1. marmcc says:

      Thanks! That was probably my fault!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. kylelaws says:

    This may be a grave…Or is it a birth passage… Still thinking about. Thanks!


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