The Grauballe Man

The bog-body was found by peat-cutters in April 1952 near Grauballe in Denmark. Providing stunning close description of an iconic ‘bog body’ on show in the Moesgaard museum near Arrhus the poem reveals Heaney’s emotional responses to a piece of anthropological history. Struck by the barbaric treatment revealed by the mummified remains Heaney turns up the volume on links between the fate of Grauballe Man and contemporary internicene violence in Northern Ireland. The body might have emerged from a mould (as if …poured in tar).  It is displayed recumbent in a bog-land setting (lies on a pillow of turf) with an expression of inner sadness (weep the black river of himself). The poetic eye moves up and down the body […]