Turning off the road to hidden valley,
we find a modern building carefully constructed
over underfloor heating, baths and drains,
preserving mosaics of individual lives lived,
celebrating feasts and fortunes.
Conserved through seasons of change
now visited by ghosts from the future.
Much later, in ancient manor
we crowd the panelled rooms and gaze.
Objects of mystery and beauty, useful, bizarre, grotesque,
form rich tapestries. Spun and woven
by one man’s life and money, spent
buying his collection, here
devotedly arranged, collated, housed,
Further on coaches stop.
Tourists walk through scented gardens,
arches and doorways leading on
to rooms with walls of rambling roses,
hedges hiding seats and summer houses.
Botanical specimens labelled, arranged, planted, pruned,
cherished and curatored with love.
We drive the line of road carved across the land
by roman craftsmen twenty centuries ago.
And queue with shuffling coach parties.
Are we invading as we tread the grassy paths, and curtained rooms?
What passion drove these craftsmen, collectors, and curators?
For whom did they carefully create, construct, conserve?
And then I ask the same questions of myself!