I mentioned Horace's epistle to Numicia in another thread. I wrote this poem as an Epicurean response to his question.
While walking in the woods, I am at pains
To pause at each cold circle of burnt stone.
A totemic blending of the profane
And sacred: a human altar where none
So human live—where memory and time
Are sacrificed in their concentric rings,
The ageless for the transitory. Each
Ring is a dolmen, or a stele of lime,
And tells of the past in a varied speech.
It gives me pause, this strange chaleur vitale¹.
I think on sacred groves—such that deterred
Thoreau², and Horace, with that old Ital-
ic saw: Do you think Virtue naught but words,
A forest only firewood? For though
The greater mass goes up in flame, pile
Upon pile of charcoal lying near
Sighs at this loss; of what, I do not know—
But that it pleases me to wander here.
¹French, Vital Heat
²Walden; "I would that our farmers when they cut down a forest felt some of that awe which the old Romans did when they came to thin, or let in the light to, a consecrated grove (lucum conlucare), that is, would believe that it is sacred to some god."