Buried Treasure

Buried Treasure

When I was a child I played on the beach all summer holiday and one day, when I was very young, I dug up a huge gold ring, which had a large red stone, with my plastic spade. I was so thrilled that I had found buried treasure I ran to my parents and showed them, saying, “Look; buried treasure!” My mum took it from me and said “We’ve been looking for that all day. Your dad lost it earlier.” Deflated I sat down again, disappointed I hadn’t found buried treasure. I was too young to realise then that treasure isn’t about things you can put a price on.

Buried Treasure

“There’ll be treasure on the beach,”
The wizened man said,
As he smoked his black pipe
And scratched his bald head.

“Search and you’ll find it
But look carefully now,
You won’t find it by digging,
You have to know how.”

The two children listened,
Then ran off to play,
Down to the beach,
That long summer day.

With spades and with buckets
They played all day long,
The old man sat watching,
Whistling a song.

Long shadows were calling,
For tea and for bed,
“There wasn’t any treasure,”
The younger one said.

The old man was smiling
As he held in his hand
The world as it turned
Through time’s red sand.

“The treasure was around you:
In the pebbles on the beach,
In the ripples in the water,
In the fishes out of reach.”

“In your voices as you called out,
In your footprints in the sand,
In the blinking of an eyelid,
In the holding of a hand.”

They ran off home together
With buckets and spades.
The man sits there, still,
Alone by the waves.

(c) David Bailey 2013

Visit Orkney Beaches

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