Spring 2006 • Vol. XXVIII No. 2 PoetryApril 1, 2006 |

The Elgin Marbles

When Elgin contemplates   the marblesnow, though for half a century   they have restedunder glass amid the soot   streams and traffic of London, he will see them,   more oftenthan not, as underwater,   distortedby a lens that, though it wobbles   and shifts, betrays no sign of how the ship   that bore themfoundered on a stretch of rocky   coast, how the teak-wood planks of the hull had snapped   and splintered and how the metopes and stelae   slidfrom their crates of packing   straw, slippedthe pleats of waves, and hit the soft   sand floor of the Aegean with a thud.   It is 1841,the light from the stone-   mullionedwindows of Broomhall House   is amber, mid-century, dying. Nothing   remainsof the fortunes squandered on salvage,   the rumorsof forgery that dogged the exhibition.   Old now, near death, Elgin remembers the blue salt water   where the marb

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When Elgin contemplates   the marblesnow, though for half a century   they have restedunder glass amid the soot   streams and traffic of London, he will see them,   more oftenthan not, as underwater,   distortedby a lens that, […]

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When Elgin contemplates   the marblesnow, though for half a century   they have restedunder glass amid the soot   streams and traffic of London, he will see them,   more oftenthan not, as underwater,   distortedby a lens that, […]

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