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Craig Peters

PostPosted: Wed 08 Jun, 2016 12:46 am    Post subject: Meditation on a Bone         Reply with quote

I found this, and, due to the subject matter, thought it might be of interest.

Meditation on a Bone

A piece of bone, found at Trondhjem in 1901, had the following runic* inscription (about 1050 CE) cut on it: “I loved
her as a maiden; I will not trouble Erlend’s detestable wife; better she should be a widow.”

Words scored upon a bone,
Scratched in despair or rage–
Nine hundred years have gone;
Now, in another age
They burn with passion on
A scholar’s tranquil page.

The scholar takes his pen
And turns the bone about,
And writes those words again.
Once more they seethe and shout,
And through a human brain
Undying hate rings out.

“I loved her when a maid;
I loathe and love the wife
That warms another’s bed:
Let him beware his life!”
The scholar’s hand is stayed;
His pen becomes a knife

To grave in living bone
The fierce archaic cry.
He sits and reads his own
Dull sum of misery.
A thousand years have flown
Before that ink is dry.

And, in a foreign tongue,
A man, who is not he,
Reads and his heart is wrung
This ancient grief to see,
And thinks: When I am dung,
What bone shall speak for me?

A D Hope, Quadrant (1957)
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