KEEPING HOUSE

 

Among the grave-goods of Anglo-Saxon women 
were keyshaped objects, 
presumably symbols of domestic authority.

Our men donned   leather leggings,
strapped the runetraced   swords to their thighs.
They sailed away    in war-bright ships
to deep-treed lands  behind the sun.
We waved and wept them out of sight,
jangling our rings   of iron keys.
We turned from the shore   to women’s work.
We loosened the loam   and scattered the seed,
cabbage, onions,   beetroot and leeks.
Sweet-breathed goats   grazed in the grass,
white ewes bawled   to their awkward lambs.
We slaughtered and salted,   churned the thick cream.
We sang at our spinning,  sang at our baking,
weaving shrouds of linen   and cloaks of wool.
We buried dead babies,   we buried our mothers.
We watched our daughters   dance in the moonlight.
Tangled with children   and dogs we slept
beneath white stars  in the earth-dark sky.
When we were dead   they buried us all
with spindle whorls,  with rings of keys.
No manly minstrel   sang our songs
and no one remembers our names.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s