Reply To: Cell of Song – Poetry Works

Salvatore Garfi

    Hello Dowrgi,

    I’m cutting up my original post, so this is part 1 of 2 (actually, it’s not really that long!).

    Hello Dowrgi,

    Again, thanks for your comments! In truth, it’s not a lack of inspiration on my part, it’s what eventual form that inspiration should take. If we were to take the ancient and/or medieval Bards and ‘translate’ them into the modern era, they would include not just poets, musicians, and artists, but film makers (of all genres), prose authors, journalists and social commentators, and of course historians (including archaeologists), to list just a few from what must be a more extensive list. These are all people who could fulfill the role of the Bard as we (in my view) envisage it. They are all saying something about society, and they can inspire, satire, praise, tell stories, and keep alive traditions (while inventing new ones), and inform us about our varied histories. On this latter note, for instance, someone like Ronald Hutton is a Bard, even though he writes straight forward histories. He tells us something about our roots, and like any good historian (or archaeologist), he brings history into the present, and that very act (even in a dry commentary) is one of memorialisation. In archaeological terms, this is a view that most people don’t have when they think of archaeology. It’s usually something akin to something reflective of Time Team, and one is always asked ‘what ‘ave you found?’ It’s always about ‘things, things and more things’.

    I’ve had many incarnations in my archaeological career, and I’ve worked in extremely varied environments, but in all of these, the fieldworker (even if not acknowledged to oneself) has an undeniably sensual relationship with that which is being studied or explored. The ghosts of the past, through their material remains are brought forward into the present and subsequently into our minds – they become part of our memory, and this, the archaeologist (as Bard?) preserves. In fact, there’s one archaeologist who has written about the archaeologist as shaman. He might be stretching the point, but I think there’s some validity there (especially if you do a lot of landscape work as I have).