The Treasure Hunter

The ancient slabbed stone packhorse bridge

Straddles the river, in three, dizzying, unsteady strides.

While downstream a worn flight of steps descend,

Where once milk was cooled and wool was washed.

In the ford, upstream, where today trout dart over bright gravels

And in the waving glades of water weed.

A small boy, waist deep, seeks sunken treasures,

With a whining, borrowed, metal detector.

His bubbling enthusiasm at his afternoon haul;

Duck diving and scrabbling in the icy waters,

Is as infectious as his blue lipped shiverings:

A round silver tunic button, tarnished black, bearing the old, Prince of Wales’s, three feather emblem.

A vast Hanoverian cartwheel penny, heavily corroded.

A heavy white gold wedding band with the internal inscription: “George and Linda 11th of May 1974.

Six heavy musket balls, from some long forgotten skirmish, all showing signs of impact.

A set of keys, fused together a in a crumbling ring of rust,

Two yellowed ceramic teeth set in a silver bridge.

A handful of small change, coined, with every reign from Victoria to our own Elisabeth.

And the inevitable fist-full of old bottle tops and ring pull tabs.

He walked home, with this wealth

And I hope with good health!

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