IN THE MUSEUM OF AMAZEMENT
On Monday morning the small Buddha in the vestibule
started doing back-flips, over and over, until his gold leaf fell away
and he had quickly to adjust his robes.
At the front desk Miss Maple looked the other way
and remembered how she used to smile.
On Tuesday, in the Natural History Department,
the dodo was seen to wink.
Politely but firmly the ancient custodian requested a transfer.
On Wednesday, the pterodactyl clattered its beak like a football rattle,
then played grandmother’s footsteps with a school party
in anapaestic measure, after they’d left their teacher among the fossils.
On Thursday, a drum, not beaten at the burial of Sir John Moore
was found to have done a Coruna.
On Friday, in the Department of Antiquities,
when the shutters were opened,
a Greek warrior (in the style of Phidias),
was discovered without his spear.
Nearby a Spartan hoplite lay impaled against the wall.
On Saturday, in the gilt coach that took Princess Caroline
to marry the mad Danish King Frederick,
the red velvet plush cushions, perceived to have a rime of white,
were found salty and damp.
On Sunday, on the inside of Nelson’s black silk eye-patch,
a little greened with age,
an exquisite miniature of Emma Hamilton appeared,
undoubtedly by Romney.
When Monday came again, the whole museum was filled with children
eyes as wide a guineas.
These new custodians were fresh-minted
with curls like waterfalls.
Their smiles abashed the sun.
Miss Maple was their swelling moon.