They came of a kind of believing.

As we thought of them lying in the earth
they put on the layers of their being until
after years and not far beneath the surface
they could allow their limbs
to seek congruence with a field’s contour
or with the course of a brook, and find it.

We know that the ground about them shifted over centuries:
mounds became discernible and sometimes
named features of the landscape,
mapped obstacles for the plough, and later
for the engineer and the road-gang.

Where the thought of them persisted
further – smaller – accretions formed,
tumours that gradually became the things we found:
combs, bangles, amphorae.

We know this of what remains:
for the spit of each spade turned
a hundred layers of their being fell away
to leave us the nothing that we came to.