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At the Archaeological Institute of America's Annual Meeting


O, ungrateful hordes! Archaeologists
Mill through the hotel lobby, like jammed cars,
Clogging doorways, aiming all ways, vaguely
Swerving clots of unflappable classicists.
While elsewhere, their counterparts, undertakers,
Are busy burying, they burrow to see
What's still down there. To think, such an awkward
Set of characters would meddle with tombs
Of emperors, queens, and epic poets!
They hunt all summer long the long interred,
Gather smashed shields, pry seals from anterooms,
Blow dust from sherds, dive to black ships.
Veering, talk to talk, they discuss ancient glory,
Building careers, then joining their quarry.


Ernest Hilbert

All of You on the Good Earth
Red Hen Press


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