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Sky Boat of the Durotriges

There now, let them rise up: the dark voices, the light voices,
The feathered, the fervid, the iron road of truth is a road we must go down
And the boat of morning and the waters of night.
We are three of indeterminate form:
Too fast, too patient, too vast to keep a single shape.
We are three, is all you need to know, the indicator of splendour.
They see us who know us, they know us who see us.
We glide on shadowed moments, in dreaming time,
On pools of blood and pools of passion.
Words that approach silence ornament us.
They say it is a boat, a barque, but it wavers as a reflection does,
As a path in shimmering summer air, as firelight in a drunken hall.
For we ride beyond the waves of light, on photonic tides,
A boat that is not a boat. A promise scratched on stone.
There are three, and that is all you need to know:
The door, the lock, the key.
A boat of gold riding endless, sparkling darkness.

The Durotriges were an Iron Age Celtic tribal group in the South of England centred on what is now the County of Dorset. They produced coins of silver and gold, often with similar designs. They are abstracted and difficult to read, though they would have been easily read by those familiar with the imagery at the time. Celtic coin imagery follows the key design features of the Mediterranean prototypes, but always playfully morphs them to subvert the message or to ‘own’ the message as part of tribal identity. The Durotriges were seafarers, familiar with the estuaries and rivers of the Dorset and Hampshire coasts. This design ultimately derives from the main features of a profile head (crown/hair, eye,nose,lips) but is usually seen as a boat of some kind with three occupants. In most versions of the design the three beings have the same characteristic shapes, suggesting they are three specific and distinct characters, that might be read as male, female amd child. The fact that there are three is a clear indication of sacredness, if not divinity. Whenever groups of three appear in Celtic art, supernatural power is signified. At th moment I am working on a series of sculptures derived from this image, and so now and then new possibilitis of interpretation arise. Of which this is one.

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