Terracotta Wonders

After a visit to the exhibition of Terracotta Warriors at the world Museum in Liverpool, I was inspired to first write a blog and now here is a poem also driven by that visit.


 

Terracotta ghosts of first Emperor Qin Shi Huang
Speak nothing of their journey via air sea and land
To the farthest of shores
Where behind closed glass doors
They stand silently and wait
For their keepers to open the gate

In darkened halls
Elaborate hangings decorate the walls
And well worded panels try to explain
But there is information overload which floods your brain
With the sheer scale and the excess
It’s hard to countenance or adequately express

Artefacts, safe behind glass, glint, and shine
Inanimate and lonely unlike the viewers standing in line
But the displays keep your interest
All the pieces you had only seen on Pinterest
While the atmosphere starts to heighten
Although the lighting fails the brighten

It’s hard to understand some of the things you have just read
700,000 prisoners used to build yet another place for the dead
Millions in total were entombed for their master
Not all of them killed first, but in their time, no disaster
But it’s not this information that makes the crowds begin to simmer
And past the heads pressing on, you get the first glimmer

They are only seven but there they are standing tall in their row
Imposing, proud, you initially think, wow
But backed by projected images of their home in far Xi’an
Actually, they look quite fragile and sadly rather wan
I stand and admire, knowing it’s what is expected
But somehow inside, I feel rather deflated

They are admittedly impressive but undoubtedly sad
In front, a small child wants to be lifted by his dad
He is obviously less than impressed
And would rather tug at his Pepper Pig vest
Then knocks hard on his poor dad’s head
And they move on, with nothing more to be said

More interesting things take you away
And the end is in sight, but some want to stay
To see many small figures, coins and gold jiggers,
Along with bronze bowls and elaborate steamers
Left by subsequent dynasties
With their equal excess and brutal ministries

Round one last darkened corner
Brings you to a three D, animated diorama
Where you stare for the two minutes that it shows
And then you’re done, and the lighting thankfully grows
Into the inevitable gift shop that glitters with offers
All manner of goods meant to empty the coffers

But you resist most of the glitz neatly on show
Looking maybe twice at the 1500-pound life-size statue
It was the only thing you might actually like
But for postcards you pay the smiling assistant, Mike
Yes, it’s been an experience even if a little barbed
But you feel rather sorry that, they had to be disturbed

© David Rollason April 2018

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More pictures HERE

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