'The Haruspex' by Neil Rollinson | The Roman Baths

'The Haruspex' by Neil Rollinson

As part of Places of Poetry the award winning poet Neil Rollinson has created a special poem for the Roman Baths.

13 August 2019

Prize-winning poet Neil Rollinson has created a poem as part of the Places of Poetry campaign. His poem is inspired by the Haruspex stone at the Roman Baths. 

The Haruspex

He misses the heat and flies,
the scrum and scurry of the Palatine.
He warms his hands in the entrails, probing
the will of god, the shifting fates of men.

Some fools ponder the leaves of tea,
or study the flight paths of birds,
others look into buckets of eels,
or map the shape of a lunatic's head.

These are the guts of a beast.
They steam on a frosty morning
in Mensis Martius. On studying the liver,
the portents are clear. A child could see:
none shall prosper. All will fail.

Neil Rollinson August 2019