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.