Lindow Manchester


A Poem to Honour Lindow Man
Offerings Box in the Lindow Man exhibition

Offerings Box in the Lindow Man exhibition

On 2nd September I wrote about the Offerings Box in the Lindow Man exhibition here at the Manchester Museum. The following poem was written on a card with original artwork and put in the box during the pagan ceremony to welcome Lindow Man back to Manchester back in April. It was taken out in one of our periodic reviews of the box contents to clear away comments cards, sweet wrappers, organic offerings and the like.  With the permission of the writer I am now pleased to be able to share it with readers of this Blog. The card will shortly be returned to the box.

Card with original artwork and poem for Lindow Man from Gordon the Toad

Card with original artwork and poem for Lindow Man from Gordon the Toad

Words to Lindow Man

Was the world changing,
As you went into the Moss?
Did you feel the world
shake as the Romans moved
across the land?

Were those first Christians
arriving, even then, to build
their cells, ascetic in caves,
shrivelling thier souls, unasked
on our behalf, out-talking
even the Druids?

Were the Irish kings sending
raiding prties to test the
boundaries of the sea?
Were the threads of the
familiar unravelling, fraying
into the wind the shapes of
the societies that you knew?

And had the children of
Lyr, shed their swan
feathers and, telling
thier ancient tale, at last,
withered and died by
Patrick’s feet?

Did the Holy People take
you and bind you and
feed you to the wildness
and wideness?

Or were you just waylaid
one night, fallen in with
thieves, the gold of your
status stolen and all your
promise dropped into the cold,
dark-gold, deep-mead waters?
And did sheer chance pull
you from the peat?

Or have you been sleeping,
watching and waiting for the
moment to come back and
face a changing world again?

The threat and promise of
change echo between our
centuries and I would sit
with you watching the sunset
over distant hills.

Whatever the change, the mint
still curls over the lingering
mosses and rain still falls on
the bleak hills,

Perhaps ghost and flesh we
would share the courage to
face past and future
change together.

Islands still float
in glory
beyond the edge
of the world.

Gordon the Toad

Card with poem and original artwork left as an offering to Lindow Man

Card with poem and original artwork left as an offering to Lindow Man

This is just one a number of interesting things that have been placed in the offerings box over the last few months and we’re hoping that there will be a study of the material as part of the evaluation of the exhibition. I don’t know that this has been done before. Very often offerings in museums and on historical sites are disposed of and no record is ever made of them. I remember seeing a flower offering at the West Kennet long barrow site a few years ago. It had obviously been put there deliberately but it would have disappeared or been tidied away fairly quickly. We are photographing organic offerings that might harbour pests that might cause problems at the Museum and sending them – respectfully and with the help of Gordon – to Lindow Moss. It is remarkable just how big an outpouring of poetry Lindow Man seems to have inspired.

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