Dead Man Of Many Names
I like to imagine someone finding me.
Perhaps stripping up floorboards on a Sunday
and finding my femur cocooned
in the hidden vestments of a priest
also long dead, and buried.
Somewhere out there I have ten fingers,
ten toes, and twenty-four knobbled bits of spine
that have been turned over,
kissed, caressed, worshipped more thoroughly
than I think I ever was in life.
Funny thing isn’t it, the idea of relics,
when with each breath, what dark deeds I slipped
into the hidden hours!
When no one else was waking or watching
and I could move freely, like a wraith.
They built a reliquary around my skull,
but gave it another man’s name and called me saint.
Then the King’s men came,
beat the bone until the alter glittered with dust
and there was one less piece of me.
I like to imagine someone finding me,
the slow horror on their faces at the bone clack
of de-fleshed limbs shifting,
their trembling hands lifting cloth
to find that I’m still here.
I’m mixing prompts again today. Day Eight for NaPoWriMo was the challenge to “write your own poem in the form of a monologue delivered by someone who is dead.” I mulled this challenge over for a while, and this morning I thought of the perfect way to merge it with last night’s DVerse Meet The Bar challenge.
Write a poem about the body parts (e.g. eyes, hands, feet) as a metaphor and/or story. It doesn’t have to be about your body or family’s history (from the first person experience), if this makes it uncomforable for you. You can write about the body’s experience of someone else (from a third person narrative perspective). You create the mood – serious, or sad or sexy, or funny or filled with nostalgia.https://dversepoets.com/2021/04/08/mtb-the-body-poetry/
Relics played a pivotal in medieval Christianity, though the validity of these relics is sometimes questionable. During the reign of Henry VIII, and the reformation, ‘Popish’ totems were destroyed and the churches stripped to bring them more in line with the developing Protestant faith in England. Many of these items were hidden away for safe keeping however, and some were brought back out during the reign of Mary I. Some were lost forever. My thought was this, how would someone feel about their body being dug up and distributed across a country, perhaps a continent, under the claim that the bones belonged to a famous saint?