letter home
From Vindolanda, a letter home, on a wooden tablet.

Below Whin Sill, beneath the Roman Wall,
a bird might see this place stretched like a plan
of temples, taverns, barracks, roads… and all
now seldom taller than the smallest man.
But if you want a glimpse of its true heart,
look at the cased and labelled things:
and find that though we’re centuries apart
there is a link that each small object brings.
Forget the alien – helmet, armour, sword –
and look instead at hammer, comb and shoe;
find, scribed on wood and not to be ignored,
small messages which through the years ring true:
“Send me more beer, and socks!”  “Come to my home…”
We find our mirror-selves in British Rome.

Elizabeth Horrocks

If you have any thoughts on this poem, Elizabeth Horrocks would be pleased to hear them.