Down Vine Street   unearthed from its grave deep shrine
names on a tablet of lead found among bitten coins and empty clasps.

Did it rain back then as it does now grey water sliding off roofs.
Did it splash into the muddied grooves.
Forts loomed along the river Soar
men flinched and hid from the rain
dreaming of a violent sun
the perfume of lemon groves.

Down Vine Street now   this Roman past sprawls
under ground caught in dust and rubble.
While above layers of touch movement and faith blend and separate.
The gods align   eclipse   and pass.
A charismatic son plays his part
a theatre of eccentric stars weave tales
and a minaret of echoes drifts across a steel grey sky.