Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Archaeology and the Early History of Essex

He passes you a box, which includes:
A black arrowhead
Some knapped flints
(microliths, he explains).
Worked bright, as new now
As they were before they were buried.
And these are beautiful,
But obviously.

Then he passes you an ugly stone,
Heavy until you turn it
And it fits like your newborn's head,
This handaxe, like your infant's skull,
Fills your hand and no more.
As it should.

There is a dent for your thumb,
You and the Bronze Age meet,
You are holding History.
You think about your son's hands,
How curled and small they are now.
One day they too will fit this axe.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Your Empty Bed

Your empty bed.
I hadn't seen you up
and dressed
Since J's baptism,
you sat in your chair
all shining and electric.
A witness to a church
You had led me to
some thirty years ago.

Eight years on now.
And you have got up
But never to press
This ash burnt pillow.
Carried out by strangers,
Your last legs long gone.

The chair sits dust covered
Battery dead.

I open your post
And cover your quilt
In piles of bills, demands
And junk mail. Your life
In paper hiding suspect
Stains on sheets I do not
Dare to scrutinise.

A last rite I do for you.