Tesserae

Rain-water still collects in old stone. Held,
the tanks full as the foot-worn hollows.
Sunlight passing over the wall dries
the starry dew from moist grass, overgrown
into the green granary. Glass is constructed
to protect a broken jug and a collection of coins –
the lost property carefully managed by volunteers.
Cars park so that all ages can see all ages
of layered objects. Far away in an unremarkable
open air room – furthest from the protection
of the long wall, a faded mosaic of a forgotten goddess.
The grout falls from her eyes and her hair splinters
in the heat so she is only a fragmented reminder
of the faith of a family. The army who worshipped her
replaced by legions of tourists.
She isn’t recognised. Buried and unburied.

With thanks to David Moore who gave me the original inspiration of “moist, jug, grout” during the Three Random Words project. The idea behind it was a mosaic at one of the Roman forts on Hadrian’s Wall. I was looking at the care that had been taken to create a gorgeous piece of practical artwork that we still look at so many hundreds of years later and the interest we have in our history.

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