Martin Robertson

Now and Then


The objects in this case

were taken from a grave:

a pair of ear-rings, gold, simple design;

a bronze mirror, its shine a roughened green

but on the back still, delicately lined,

a leaf-fan on whorled stalks, above the tang

which held it in the handle, doubtless of wood

(no trace of that remained);

two jointed dolls of clay;

likewise of fired clay, half a dozen crocks,

five of them black, prettily formed but plain,

the sixth (small like the others) a masterpiece

of shaping and drawing.

These were lifted from a girl’s grave,

put there by friends, by her parents probably,

to be there always in the dark ground

with the dead child.

Popular name for archaeologist

is grave-robber.

Not without reason.

Still, might perhaps the master potter-painter

like to have known his handiwork seen,

shown, loved again?