Paperweight


I passed it round the class:
a piece of Roman pottery;

expected
them to gasp,
to marvel at something so old:
part of a handle, red fired clay
with traces of ancient paint;

wanted
them to imagine
the potter at his wheel,
his black curly hair,
sitting in the sun,
turning the glistening jug,
attaching the curving handle,
adding delicate grooves
with the tip of his wet finger,
for a pleasing effect
at the height of the Empire;

reckoned
they would surmise he was
a potter who would not know
how many hands would grasp
this handle and carry the vessel
which would serve its purpose
(for how long?) until it broke,
and a piece of the handle
was inserted in mortar
between blocks of stone
at the base of the temple wall,
in Municipium Augusta Bilbilis,
in Hispania,
till I retrieved it
two thousand years later;

thought
they might wonder
if a thirsty builder placed it there,
after drinking from the jug
which slipped from his grip and
broke because he was drunk, perhaps;
or a cheeky child or a passer-by,
sneakily pushing it into place,
like carving initials for a laugh
or something to be remembered for,
before finally the mortar went dry;

assumed
they’d ask themselves
what things of theirs would someone
find in two thousand years,
what legacy would they leave?

hoped
I’d left them mine.
The ever optimistic teacher.

Municipium Augusta Bilbilis: ruins of a Roman city,
near Catalayud, Aragón, Spain.

.

© Nemo 2020
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critique and comments welcome.
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Ionicus

I suspect it is a case of ‘margaritas ante porcos’, Gerald. But perhaps your optimism will be rewarded.
Best, Luigi.

Savvi

Loved this Nemo really enjoyed the whole piece, IMHO the thirsty builder stanza is one too many I would rather read / see some interaction owe and wonder from just one in the class that gives the N hope, just for balance. Best Keith

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