Saturday, 14 April 2012

Treasure Unearthed

A poem. It’s about what’s hidden under the earth, in gardens and in fields. About history and people wiped from living memory. About the endless cycle of life. Accompanied by photos I took of treasure carefully recovered from Debbie’s garden and allotment digs. My favourite is the bowl handle of a clay pipe, whittled in the shape of a monkey. It feels lovely to hold, my hand wraps round it perfectly. I wonder who owned it?

Treasure Unearthed

The soup spoon churns and stirs,

Juddering in neat rows,

Dragged by the modern beast,

Delightful furrows,

Soft edged hugging the boundaries,

Buried treasures unearthed,

Chunks of scored red brick,

Fresh wounds reddest,

A wall abandoned,

Pieces of life, Where children played,

Spread thinly, rationed jam,

Smashed clay pipes, whittle marked,

Sun bleached,

Tooth white under the fallow rested mud,

Smoked thoughtfully by farm hands,

Honest fingernails filled with dirt,

Sweat dried on grimy skin,

A rest between feats of strength,

Men and horses, beasts long dead,

warmed in the same sun,

Pottery shards,

fragments of roman tiles,

A workman’s metal boot heel,

Arched jauntily, sticking out the earth,

Rusting to dust,

Little beads of faded blue bone china,

A piece of an impossible mosaic,

The scene unrecognisable,

Just a whisper from the plate’s edge,

All tiny remnants of memories,

Under all this, under stones, hints of movement,

Worms for leaping gulls, swarming, churning the air,

Grubs for suspicious crows,

Delightful furrows, buried treasure unearthed.

© Mel Melis 2012.


Pieces of broken clay pipe. In the bottom left corner, one of the shafts is inscribed with the name “SHAW”, perhaps the makers mark rather than the owners names, these pipes were commodities I believe. After a few uses, you chucked them away.

All of these bottles were dug from the garden intact! Now part of our household ornaments.

The clay pipe (this is the handle which attaches to the bowl I believe) whittled in the shape of a monkey. I’m so fond of this. I like holding it in my hand and pretend I’m smoking. How old am I? Six of course!

Porcelain and a creepy baby head

A clay pipe bowl and a pretty rabbits head skull (I think)

An old metal boot heel, probably from a workers boot. (It’s too small for a horseshoe and not the right shape)