Even at the rote turn of the last disbelieving century,
An old Welshman claimed his father had slain draig-talamh,
The earth dragons. And in his own youth he had seen them:
Scales crusty with jewels, crests flaring in rainbows.
When disturbed they slid brightly away to hide –
Dark tumuli reeking of earth and damp metal,
Shining with the lost weapons of men.
Coiled deep in the mud and mold, a dying claw curls
Around a small naked thing that snuffles and squirms,
Veined pink skin shiny, thin as tissue:
Their most urgent treasure, the old Welshman’s belief.
Tiny lungs suck polluted air, pink stubs wave feebly.
Someone expecting anything must dig fast through the grit
And not be afraid to tell what they never saw.