Lindow Man, Poetry by Kathleen McCoy

Genre: Survival, Life, Society, History, Biography

Lindow Man
by Kathleen McCoy

100 B.C. – 100 A.D.
Discovered in 1984 in the Lindow Moss Bog near Manchester and conveyed to The British Museum

Starlight directly entered
the right side of his skull.

He has been left with half
of one right leg. The other

is just gone. Yet time has kept
his speechless lips full,

writ large upon his smashed
and slanted leather face—

clubbed twice at twenty-five, then
strangled, throat slashed.

Did they come in their Druidic
hoods as friends, with their wily

eyes, their toasting silver
cup of mistletoe that steamed,

chimed, swirled, like a belly dancer
whose iron sword

glistened in moonlight? The savage
bells rang for centuries. And all of this

to keep the trees in flower,
the fields rife with grain and honey.

The ridiculous bogged down,
preserved in peat, half a man

who lived half a life
with a half-life of two millennia,

the pounding in the chest
of the wolf’s next meal.

    * * * * *

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