The Discovery of a Mosaic Floor

dust and dirt, five hands high
forms the earth: above, only sky;
below, a delicate lattice laid –
the floor of a villa burnt in raid
in Italy, now, though called else when
the mosaic was fitted in blocks of ten
by twenty, repeating in rows
of colors some ancient heart had chose
and long-gone hands had (trembling) placed
for then as now – mistakes make waste
and though we’ve found such common things,
a place for feet, and not for kings
it stands and says “here was a home”
and so survives where burnt a throne.


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