A reconstruction from bones believed to be Cleopatra’s sister, Arsinoe IV
IT’S A FAMILY THING
I have seen them Down in the valleys, Up on the meadows, Carefully digging and sifting For remnants of a past age and generation, Finding beads, bits of gold, sometimes bracelets and bones, Always bones.
Here is my sister. I can see her as she once was, Clothed in skin and slender, Lying in her bony shallows, Where nothing much is left of her. Yet I am glad they cover her When it starts to rain.
For, in my mind, she stands before me, Long and lovely, her smile dazzling, Her elegant feet tapping against her grave.
Through the sound of raindrops I can almost hear her whisper, ‘Welcome, my sister.’ As she stands on one side of her ancient death place And I stand silently on the other, Returning her greeting, ‘Welcome, my sister.’
We were out in the middle of nowhere when I saw this derelict piece
of farm machinery. We were surrounded by fields and fields with the
odd spinney breaking up the green and brown like an exclamation mark. I’m hopelessly in love with these northern landscapes and
when, from a distance, I saw what I thought was a man in a field,
it seemed to me how fortunate he was to be out in that pure sunshine,
in that glorious land. If you’re going to be abandoned, there was no better place.
THE IRON MAN
I saw an iron man on the way north. He was digging in a field of red earth, The earth so red It matched his rusty bones. As we drew closer, I saw with my own eyes It was not an iron man, of course, But some old farm machinery Abandoned in a hedge, Left to rot in the hard, cold hand of winter.
That iron man will never dig the red earth out. Never throw a spadeful over his shoulder. Yet men of iron and we, of blood and bone, Have one thing in common. We all need someone to help us. They to have their rusty bones made bright again. We to have our rusty hearts made new, To shine again.
The iron man will have to wait until times change, Until someone shows up who loves old farm machinery. But our help has already shown up, For hope will change us And love will shine up the world.
When I was 12 years old, I decided I would walk to the end of a rainbow, find the gold and we could all live happily ever after. Several hours later, almost too tired to take another step, the rainbow as far away as ever and fading fast, I headed back home. I found something on that expedition, though, as I’ve never forgotten it.
Possibly, All life exists At the end of a rainbow. Gold, Fairies, Witches on broomsticks, A Knight in shining armour.
I don’t really think so. The last time I looked, There was only a crumble of dirt, A grain of corn, A rain beetle struggling through the leaf mould.