from boredom? Or a son-and-father moment
interrupted, lost for ever? A blip, they thought,
but no great deal. A thing with heft,
metallic - obviously that, for interrupting
the magnetic field of their detector.
They'd visited the field so often in the past,
had swept it side-to-side and up and down
and long ago convinced themselves that it was bare
of artefacts worth finding. But still they'd gone
on sweeping, since they liked the view.
A small disturbance to a Cumbrian field.
No more than that. A head. Victorian, they'd thought.
Well, no. As it turned out, First Century - perhaps.
A Roman bronze, a mask, a helmet for the cavalry.
And beautiful, complete and haunting. Certainly,
a face to reckon with. One to disturb the status quo.
Two thousand years entombed in local soil, they graced it with
a local name. Their hope, that it would bring in visitors.
They raised the cash in bucketsfull. More than enough.
Way, way beyond the likely price. But it had powers
beyond their dreams, that ancient head disturbing,
mesmerising, gripping man across the globe. Outbid,
the soil of Cumbria not rich enough... the last
disturbance..? That will be abroad - maybe.
transcends prison walls and bars,
strokes each pore of my skin
Part of a letter from Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese activist serving 11 years in prison to his wife Liu Xia.