Windeby Girl

Some years ago, I read a classic archeological book titled “The Bog People”, examining the ancient bodies found preserved in the bogs of northern Europe.  The one of them who touched me most was the one known as ‘the Windeby girl’.  Like some of the others, she was a victim of execution.  Her head had been roughly shaved, she had been blindfolded, and a latticework of sticks had been placed on her breasts, and heaped with rocks.  She drowned in bog water.  It was, I think, a punishment for adultery.   She was probably fourteen.  I have never managed to get her out of my mind.

 

 

I searched for you on the internet,

But was ambushed by porn sites,

And high school term papers,

Before ending at museum displays.

 

I do not know which of them was worse,

Which did you less justice.

 

You had power;

It reached out

Right through the blindfold.

 

Were you a sorceress, then

To so enthrall me?

Perhaps.

If so, I embrace the enchantment.

 

They have reconstructed your head.

Think of that, my girl.

Your body, I fear, remains beyond their skill,

But your face, your face

 

I saw it only today

Waiting in line at Starbucks.

You served me a tall coffee,

And I thought,

You, again?

 

So, it is only your remains, after all

Displayed for museum gawkers, or

Buried amid the detritus of internet

 

The fools.

Once again

They think they have you.

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