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The Tollund Man

by
 I

Some day I will go to Aarhus
To see his peat-brown head,
The mild pods of his eye-lids,
His pointed skin cap.
In the flat country near by Where they dug him out, His last gruel of winter seeds Caked in his stomach, Naked except for The cap, noose and girdle, I will stand a long time.
Bridegroom to the goddess, She tightened her torc on him And opened her fen, Those dark juices working Him to a saint's kept body, Trove of the turfcutters' Honeycombed workings.
Now his stained face Reposes at Aarhus.
II I could risk blasphemy, Consecrate the cauldron bog Our holy ground and pray Him to make germinate The scattered, ambushed Flesh of labourers, Stockinged corpses Laid out in the farmyards, Tell-tale skin and teeth Flecking the sleepers Of four young brothers, trailed For miles along the lines.
III Something of his sad freedom As he rode the tumbril Should come to me, driving, Saying the names Tollund, Grauballe, Nebelgard, Watching the pointing hands Of country people, Not knowing their tongue.
Out here in Jutland In the old man-killing parishes I will feel lost, Unhappy and at home.

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