The Grauballe Man

The piece provides stunning close description of an iconic ‘bog body’ on display and reveals the poet’s emotional responses to it. The notion of man’s barbaric treatment of his fellows is never far away; associated ideas link the fate of Grauballe Man with contemporary events in Ulster. The body might have emerged from a mould As if …poured/ in tar. It is posed in bogland décor: he lies on a pillow of turf; the face expresses an inner sadness, appearing to weep/ the black river of himself. The observer’s eye ranges up and down the body; its at-oneness with the bog that preserved it are striking; similes of comparison are vegetable then mineral finally animal: the fibres of the body’s […]