Green stone shines in the newly-turned earth,
foreign among the limestone rocks.
I bend to pick it up,
caress its silkiness, then
notice its axe-head shape.
What kind of man left it here?
What thought could we have in common?
Would he marvel at the hawthorn blossom,
drawing in its heady scent?
Would he watch the deer as she leapt
with effortless grace?
Or would he see the hawthorn as fuel for his fire
and the deer as food for his belly?
Was his village here? Where I am standing?
Or, more likely, over Zebra Hill
on higher, safer ground.
Did he love
with a fierce intensity
the woman who bore his children?
As I do.
Were his children well fed,
Did the woman stand and watch
and wait for his return?
And why did he leave the axe here?
Did something I cannot imagine
cause him to drop it
For it would be a precious thing,
not easily abandoned.
I need to believe
that the last hand that touched this stone
lived five thousand years ago.
And, although hands in museums and societies
touch it, feel its smoothness,
imagine it being used as they
pass it one to another,
mine is the hand
that has the contact,
direct and unbroken,
with that Neolithis hand.