On Finding a Fragment

On finding a fragment of an “Etruscan” vase.

In digging up my garden, I unearth a fragment

of what was once a vessel of some sort.

As I wipe away the earth,

an enormous eye in black gloss paint

stares up at me.


Thin-walled, subtly curving,

one edge softly rounded,

this inch-long shard

is all that remains

of a drinking cup for wine.


The shiny glaze,

the fineness of the fabric,

betray its origins in Athens.


In inviting his friends

to a symposium, a banquet,

the Etruscan,

citizen of Velzna,

must have spent

a pretty penny

to impress his drinking companions

with this prestigious import.


I wonder

if this fragment still remembers

the fragrance of the wine it held

and the aristocratic guest who drank it

reclining on his couch.

5 thoughts on “On Finding a Fragment

  1. Erika Wonderful piece—it reminds me of the feelings I had handling the ancient Roman coins in my deceased brother’s collection. I not only felt a sense of wonder at who had last used the coin perhaps a couple thousand years before— but that feeling was overwhelmed by the same question as to when my brother had handled the coin in the bank vault where he stored Precious collection? In the end I could not bear the burden of the coins and as you know sold the collection for a pittance to a coin shop. And I wonder who touches them now? I kept half a dozen coins for the girls… and Piero. J 🌹🙏

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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  2. Hello again Erika. This poem is a joy: I listened to your reading of it with growing pleasure as step by step you take us through the twists and turns of description and reflection. And I love the sense of deep history being just out of earshot.

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  3. I love this piece, which is in harmony with my sense that objects and places can retain an aura of those who literally first touched them, and later, vice versa.

    Is a fragment capable of memory? Why not?

    Like

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