Poetry: Nebra Sky Disc

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Here is a poem by Cornish poet and dramatist Alan M. Kent about the Nebra Sky Disc which caused much scientific speculation on its discovery in 1999. The object itself dates as far back to 1600 BC.

Read on below to see how Alan Kent identifies and situates the object with Cornwall.

Hard to see

any religious significance,

or even judge it

as an astronomical instrument.


Standing here at Nebra,

in Saxony-Anhalt,

you sit more like a child’s toy:

a blue and gold shield,

dented by a wooden sword’s sturdy hits.


Most obviously,

you are a face:

one eye wide open;

the other winking,

above a smiley mouth,

like some drug-fuelled memory of Acid House.


You could be

the colour of the sea at Porthcurno,

your bronze the dredges of the ocean,

left at Pedn Vounder at low tide.

Your crescent moon is the Logan rockng.


I like this object’s edges:

the feel of elephant’s feet,

or even the crimped edge of a pasty,

where metal is tucked behind metal,

for decoration and whimsy.


You are small:

30cm in diameter,

but what you depict is vast.

You tell a story told nowhere else

in ancient art.


These are the heavens:

sun and moon, a lunar crescent,

and the Pleiades

nestled into a blue-green patina.


Someone

understood that we revolve around the sun –

and had you made 1600 years

before the birth of Christ.


Old magic then.


In trekking to Germany though,

I do nothing special.

Its mystery would be enough

and yet, we know a little more.


The gold that shimmers

was direct from Helston’s River Cober.

They are pieces of hal-an-tow.


This tin too,

from my interim nation.

They are Stannary and spall.

I grasp at the journeys:

the distances, the providences,

and slowly,

blindly,

the now.


Who were the hands that picked up the nuggets?

Who traded ingots at Ictis?

These questions bite

the same way

the heavens intrigued its maker.


Such knowledge

must have made him feel incomplete:

Knowing only a little,

and wanting more.


Now, as I view this disc,

at an exhibtion:

Der geschmiedete Himmel,

such knowledge of the ‘smithied’ sky’

can make my land complete.

Dr Alan Kent is a writer, poet, dramatist, teacher and academic. He enjoys writing Cornish and Anglo-Cornish literature.