It’s that time of year to look back—and ahead. The ancient ruins at Reculver (where the 2,000 year old Roman fortification walls are still visible) always make me reflect: both on change and on constancy.
I Reculver (Regulbium) 43 AD
Bound for Londinium on proud horses,
Ruling, inscribing harsh lines from Rome
Across the Alps, the land, the sea,
The emperor’s men brought in their inky tide:
Decrees scrolling, unrolling in waves of change.
Captives hauled the flints they mined with antlers
(Hacked out, split in twain, cracked out)
To build the straight, square garrison a mile from water
So their conquerors could watch the Wantsum, guard the sea
And scare poor British wretches into slavery.
They raised up ramparts, parapets,
With remorseless order: a flinty masonry
Of angles, sharp corners,
And calculated mastery.
© Lizzie Ballagher