To the British Museum in W3
in very different company.
To an Egyptian archaeological mortuary;
dismembered torsos and massive heads,
disjointed arms and shattered legs;
imitations of flesh and bone
in granite, sandstone,
marble and obsidian.
Mirrors of souls buried in oblivion.
the many who swarmed along the Nile
and lived and loved among a
host of enemies, stare
with dead eyes and frozen smile
with a rich, dark hunger
to reawaken in the sun.
Broken friezes, unhinged doors,
fragmented pediments, mosaic floors,
gold necklaces that have outlived their necks
failed amulets – all trawled from these Egyptian wrecks.
Trawled by English gentlemen
from a many layered human tragedy.
Gentlemen on grand tours who came to pick and choose
from what an ancient people made and were made to lose
by Nubian, Ptolemy, Roman and Ottoman;
-these more concerned with slaves and human plunder
than with these artefacts
which you have seen
and which have made you wonder.
Here in this place
they rest, each with its space,
its lighting and its label;
-delicacies upon a cultural table.
Today, for whom?