My earthly father had a great passion for antiques. There was one occasion of note in a remote church whilst taking communion with the rest of the family. As the bread and wine were passed around, there was an embarrassing pause as father took the chalice. The pause was as a result of a poorly disguised attempt to find and identify the hallmark on the great silver vessel.
I can remember him telling me about the legal requirement of the silversmith to leave his registered mark, and a letter to signify the date of manufacture and assay.
Some sixteen years later I was lucky enough to visit the Western Highlands of Scotland and found a small tidal island in a loch. It was no more than 40 feet across. I nicknamed it Lindisfarne and spent some wonderful times there in silence. It was on one of these occasions that memories of my father’s passion returned.
The Jeweller’s Mark
Midday, a star shines from mountain high
It’s probably a car that’s just passing by
But now it’s stopped in a bright patch of light
A gem set in green, a jeweller’s delight.
A caterpillar now walks across the peat
Seeking winter shelter with rows of tiny feet
It collects a drop of dew from a heather stem
And in sunlight reveals that very same gem.
A seal, to the right, appears in the sea
Looks around – keeping an eye on me
Binocs now focused, and I tell no lie
There’s that gem again in that twinkling eye.
In sun many gems of white I now see
The rock, fish, eagle and old oak tree
The jeweller’s law, date and name emboss
Stamped “Forever” beside the mark of the Cross.
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