An afternoon spent at Cirencester’s Corinium Museum was the inspiration behind this month’s poem ‘Women Exhibited’ by Sophie Livingston.
Sophie said: ‘I was asking myself about the lack of stories about women in history. As I looked at the Bronze-Age and Anglo-Saxon graves of women on show in the museum it struck me that it was the women’s bones that were telling their story. The exhibiting of the women, splayed out in the cases seemed a kind of violation – but it also made them visible and present to me in a way women in history are usually denied. I wanted to explore this sense that they were speaking to me through time in the only way available. It was intimate, and their bones were beautiful – and yet it was a kind of degradation too.’
The trip to the museum was organised by Cirencester-based poetry group ‘Wordbrew’. ‘Women Exhibited’ is featured in ‘Off the Wall’ an anthology of poetry and prose by Cirencester-based Somewhere Else Writers, available to buy on Amazon.
To read other work by local writers go to somewhere-else-writers.org.
Here are the women,
written in the earth.
A fan of bones; vertebrae like corks,
their message delicately
inscribed by herring bone fingers.
At Kingshill North her knees are bent tenderly to chest.
A warm slope and a red pot, honouring
a tooth-sore, bronze-age traveller.
And three thousand years away
in the next gallery,
her Anglo-Saxon sister
leaves traces of her
in the corrosion
of metal objects.
Their speaking bones are whispering to us.
I see you.
I am listening,
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