Thursday, 3 July 2014

In a Riverside Museum

I have been writing some poems about artefacts in Arundel Museum.


Little spoon
you fill the spaces of my thoughts
with reindeer
tiny and spiky as thorns on a hill

and my imagination
heaves with the later
carving of horn
and the hand that would etch
and whittle a stag
onto the scoop of your bowl.

You would have been a rich man’s weapon
blade in a river
surfacing like Excalibur
(or a bit of it)
during a ring-road dig.

What offering were you
to a Roman god
what appeasement or great wish?

Gilded now
in museum light
you are preserved –
or the one remaining  
side of you is, for you were the first
of six strong sides
around a coffin of lead.

Where is your vault and broken stone?
Dispersed in earth and air
like a chantry mass no longer sung
for a soul’s relief
though wealth was paid  and set  aside
for indefinite
centuries of prayer.