Wednesday, 23 January 2013

HOARD by Paul Surman

Is an idea pulled drawstring-tight
to itself. Like a miser counting
and recounting their suspicion.

But in the museum the word
has become soft-lit, bare metal flesh
no longer buried deep

in the airless enchantment
of the soil. Here coins, artfully arranged,
spill from broken pots,

their tight-packed hardness loosened
by this sudden disembowelment―
redistribution of wealth

in an age in which they are no longer
common currency, and passing visitors
look at them through secure plate glass,

trying to imagine hands that hid them,
meaning to return. And see perhaps a being
the colour of breath, made entirely of thought,

place a container in the earth, and take
one last furtive backwards glance
at what might be nobody at all, or us.

Didcot and Chalgrove coin hoards―
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

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