This time it is because of an analysis of his clothes,
which they could not do in as sophisticated a form twenty five
years ago, which is when I first wrote the poem. Then they did
not have a name for him either. So, this was my speculation…
Image by Wolfgang Sauber (Own work)
THE NEOLITHIC MYSTERY MAN
Shaman or shepherd-
who was this heap of skin and bones,
secreted on a scoured slope, blanketed by blizzards,
frozen for fifty-three centuries,
his grave between great groynes of rock?
Like a freak in a formalin flask,
glacial aspic had preserved him
in cryogenic condition,
until he crawled out of the melting ice
to confront climbers on their unmarked expedition.
Iron had conquered copper;
Christ walked on the water;
man walked on the Moon.
Then, like a jewel unceremoniously ripped
from its choice mount,
he was gouged by as crude an implement
as his flanged axe, by probing policemen.
After five thousand years of wind and ice’s interaction,
a four day delay led to putrefaction.
Fungus formed before he lay
in an Innsbruck freezer, a fit subject for display:
humanity reduced to a research possibility.
Countries could clash over key ring franchises,
Icemen mugs and t-shirts in S, M and XL sizes.
Had he left Honstadt and his little house on sticks,
bearing his birch box of sloe berries,
Viburnum arrows and an Ashen bow,
to become a picture on a poster, or a commercial quid pro quo?
Did he hunt, or did he trade- where was he going that day?
Did the snows come early, or did he lose his way?
By picking at his corpse, what do they really want to find-
the contents of his stomach, or the purpose in his mind?
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