“As though Achilles had to think he lived
In some Olympian age, Schliemann put
Him down to the middle-to-late Bronze,
Jazz, rockets, acid, and the Internet
Can’t be much of what the backhoe bites.
No, our best material was just Rome’s:
This hydrate silicate, stable under
Vast compression, weak to tensile loads
But easily reinforced with steel bars.
Pure forms of any shape the eye could stand
Poured out like water, held up like rock.
Do watch your step on this scrap of land:
Our works were fine, but not always true,
And we doubt the ground they lift is even.
In our defense, we wished no more than you,
Some hardy things for our careless children.”