One Man's Junk (I.P.)
His spade hits something hard;
he kneels, parts the dark earth,
lovingly with his hands.
Dirt in his nails testament
to a lifelong affair with the land.
Fragments of pots emerge.
He takes them indoors; rubs
away the grime of the ages, but
gently, as he’d bathed his infant son,
pink-toed and cherry-cheeked, many
moons ago, in that very sink.
On the table he lays them –
pieces them together. How old
they were he didn’t know – broken
clay pots, just so much garbage...
maybe a hundred years since.
Turned out they were Roman –
burial urns, or so the experts said
at the London Museum, before
they went on display.
One man’s junk, another’s treasure,
he thinks as he digs yet another
row of spuds. Kind of odd,
when what survives us longest
is our rubbish.
‘Ain’t that right, son?’