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This poem is taken from Poetry Nation 6 Number 6, 1976.

Two Poems Peter Scupham


COLLECTOR'S PIECE

What lack is here
That an old man's cool passion may assuage,
Huddled nightly with the lost Empires? Follis
    and solidus
Glimmer, recessed in their stained cabinets,
All centuries, all achievements,
Tokened by brutal heads embalmed with laurel.
Reversed, these acolytes of Roma Dea
Bear lucky legends and dispense cold favours.
On permanent bank holiday, dead money
Weighs heavy on his hands.
A Tyrian tetradrachm stirs in the light,
The eagle deeply struck in rough, clipped silver.
Scholars suggest this coin bought a god.

Now for the albums, cool herbaria
For withered Pax Britannica.
...


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