I was too young for the old things,
Unprepared to dig through fifty years
And drag a beaten iron word
From the sucking mud: duty.
Or, twice as deep, to unearth a piece of silk,
Lift the earth from each fibre with a fine brush,
Showing the remnants of the dye,
And hold the scrap up to the light: beauty.
And harder, impossible, to crack apart
The heavy deposits of the medieval strata
And emerge with an engraved artifact,
Its features worn almost blank: honour.
You were below that, under a long barrow,
Excavating a nubbed treasure from an old story.
After you fought back to the surface,
You opened your fist. It glittered in the sun. Glory.