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Deep Mercia by Adrian Johnson

Deep Mercia by Adrian Johnson

"It’s a Mercian hoard and should be displayed in Mercia." Cllr Martin Mullaney

See a YouTube video of Adrian Johnson reading this poem to visitors waiting to see the 'Staffordshire Hoard' at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery on 13 October 2009.

And, can you dig this?

Yes, it’s treasure!

Terry Herbert stood in Staffordshire mud

In the middle lands

Where John Clare kicked up poems, he dug treasure

Where Roy Fisher thinks with Birminghum

Terry’s little metal detector

Hummed and sang to its ancient Anglo- Saxon gold and silver brother

buried treasure!


from round here

In a hurry, crushed and packed and dug down

for some time later.

Anglo Saxon treasure, set with bright red garnets

plundered or traded from overseas

A folded crucifix, ornate buttons, toggles

swordless handles

dazzle and inspire - us

stuff worth waiting for - us

stuff worth queuing for - us

me and you, stood here to look

look! a message scratched in Latin

look! five fabulous kilograms of mystery and magic

It’s treasure – keep it secret!

It’s treasure – a Mercian casket

Stuffed with gold and silver

Save it for later, after the drama and the battle

Save it for later, now, right here in the middle.

Link the past to present

Where they made it, etched it, beat out

beauty – way back then, 700 AD

Line up, stand up, come and see it

Terry Herbert went and dug it


The missing link

between ancient Mercia, panel beater

and silver, magic, jewellery quarter

We made it then, with skill and wonder

We make it still - something to treasure

Dig a bit deeper down in your pockets

Find the odd copper

and maybe we’ll keep it

and clap your hands,

and jump for joy

It’s ancient and modern

treasure from Mercia


treasure from Mercia

© Adrian Johnson

October 2009