The lampstand looks old
Tibetan?Or Mongol perhaps.
Solid and beautifully embellished
It could have held candles
In the tent of Genghis Khan.
Visions of stony dessert
Winds whipping up the dust
And small hard men galloping
On sturdy ponies
While camels tread disdainfully
Laden with mundane
And extraordinary burdens.
This exquisite object
Was first made, lovingly
By a skilled artisan
Who spent his adolescence watching Masters.
Fetching and carrying for them
Seen and not heard
Obedient, grateful for this opportunity
To serve, to learn, to eventually create.
It took months in the making
Not to mention the planning
The gathering of precious stones
Metals and Amber
Our craftsman went blind too young
From working long hours in candlelight
Fashioning this and other objects
Feasts for the eyes of generations.
How many rooms has this venerable artifact adorned?
To find its way here, today
So far from its origins.
Older than you or I
Or our Great great grandparents
And destined to mark the advent of new civilisations.
It will stand in a glass case
Beside Virtual Reality helmets
Our descendants will experience its provenance
In new ways in museums of the future.
It has stood in rooms
Filled with incense and flowers
And witnessed sword fights,
The love-making of wealthy men
With sultry concubines.
It has held its own next to rare paintings
And Greek sculptures
In the palaces of Princes.
It is solid, unassuming, enduring,
A thread, but no, more, a strong rope
From then to now and into the next century.
It’s brown and orange earthy colours
A reminder of a link we are losing
With the land from which we sprang,
Its fine working an echo
Of the patience and dedication given
To producing simple functional objects
Which we have mostly forgotten.
Venerable piece, witness to our folly
And our aspirations
Guardian of history
I salute you.