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Sharon Talbot Sep 2017
Ötzi

Even in my long sleep,
I dreamed of this.
A waking by strangers
A grasping of my wrist
And I wrench it back from them!

My dreams beneath the ice
Were warm, in summer vales,
Where children played
Under my watch, old but hale.
An easy thing, my guard was then.

I tend sore limbs as supper warms,
And aching joints inflamed,
And muscles tough as ibex horn;
For a while I can be lame.
And see my copper ax in the red-gold flame.

I dream of how it came to me,
After vanquishing a headsman.
Intruders fell before me!
And I earned this talisman.
Weapon, scepter, power of my clan!

Then I was sent across the mountain,
A lone journey I knew well.
To trade with kinsmen in a the northern glen,
With gifts, arrow shafts and tales to tell,
Never guessing betrayal that walked behind.

Alone upon the highest peak
I ate my last meal by the fire.
To me the gods seemed trying to speak,
As men I knew climbed higher.
We had words, but they were my kin!

In my long sleep I wonder why
These false friends turned to hate.
I’d watched over them, yet they cried
That my rule was done, and it was too late,
So I turned from them and faced my doom.

I crossed the last protruding rock
And now felt safe from them.
But then a blow, beneath my heart: a shock!
I fell in a soft, snowy glen,
And then a dull pain in my skull…and black.

Beneath me, I can feel the ax;
They’d never take that from me!
Nor my arrows, quivers and packs;
And risk the fury of the gods.
They’d taken my power and left a ***** soul.

Five-thousand years I spent beneath the frost,
Until I was found and freed.
My scattered ions watched, angry and lost.
They dragged my body from its bed
And my soul from another life.

Now part of me lies in a crypt
Another frozen tomb.
If only I hadn’t run and slipped,
All those ages ago,
I would now lie in sacred ground,
Back in the earth to which all are bound.
Based on the 5,000 year-old, frozen body of a Neolithic man, called  Ötzi, resting under a glacier on the Austrian/Italian border. He has been widely studied and they theorize that he came from a transitional community at the base of the Alps in Italy, who were early farmers but also hunter-gatherers. When his stomach was finally autopsied, they found a meal of grain, mutton and greens. He was about 45 years old when he was most likely killed by an arrow in the back along with a blow to the head. He fell and bled to death between two large rocks, which kept his body safe from the moving glacier. Two hikers found him and assumed he was a recent ****** victim. The latter is true. His body is now kept in a temperature controlled refrigerator, taken out only briefly for various studies.
I walk a pace in tall covers, a distance set from other brothers, waiting for a herd to feed; I crush and blow away some seed.

The grasses burnt on prior prairie, warm yet cool for day is airy, far can see I from top hill; I stand in patience very still.

Copper ochre is my skin, the brothers and I are family men, on the native hills we live and finding those called kin, we hunt today the land we’re in.

Off in distant rumbled cloud, dark foreboding getting loud, the sound we seek from running crowd, ahead of storm front watching grasses plowed.

Stoic, I, my umber eyes as mist now falling from the skies, I stand here patient chest held high, shoulders square with chin to sky, my flowing hair in breeze divides.

Land it shakes I take to knee and feel the earth, the vibrating, the rumble sound is thundering, is louder still than weather’s thunder, light she fades from skies I’m under.

  Yansa nearing, wind has told me, I wait here at clearing with spear to console me but something awful lurks around for along with rumble comes alarming sound, a growling type from a hungry hound.

Bear my brother, hawk my guide, no tree for shelter or horse to ride, my hunt now over after solemn wait for Mother Earth has sealed my fate.

Two wounded wolves approaching wily, one it limps or seems to sway as smaller animals run away, their eyes beguiling on stormy day, I prepare for fight, no time to pray.

I seat my spear, it is useless, take out knife and axe I loosen, the pair they circle long and wide, and carefully I match their stride.

  Quiet now, prairie peaceful, time seems slower, I cannot see my people; the wolves at bay they snarl near, I stone my heart against all fear. Were they hunting Yansa, like me too, I just easier prey to pursue? My younger days would see wolf for dinner as I’ve grown older so too am thinner.

  What difference makes it slow or fast but when they pounced did run in tandem? In last second my actions random, I lose my hatchet in one’s side and dive while stabbing until he’s died. Face is ******, arm got chewed, and they tricked me with a method skewed, for what seemed wounded never was true, my back turned towards her, neck in view, she took aim and rent sinew.

  A ****** mess became a horror, I swung my blade and thought I caught her; she tore my hand off and mauled my face then left me dying in a grassy place. The warmth of day is leaving body, a hunt now do I thus embody, the rumbling ground again is moving and cool of night is somewhat soothing, my killer stalks the area-round but soon she’ll eat me where I’m found.

  The rain it cooled me seeing Sister Moon, Brother Sun was dipping with Great Father Sky as Mother Night came to watch me die, my life fulfilled so now I die, Great Wolf’s passion can’t deny; to all that knew me I say goodbye.

  He who fights wolves says,  -goodbye.
Rhyming narrative about a Neolithic Native American.

— The End —