Thursday, January 26, 2012

Otzi The Ice Man

In the year 1991
A pair of German mountaineers
Accidentally stumbled upon his
Five thousand year old
Frozen mummified body
High up in the Italian Alps
This Copper Age man
Who was born
3300 years before Christ

His discoverers named him Otzi
(After the Otz mountain chain
Where his frozen body
Was found)
The scientists who examined him
Said that while he yet lived
He measured
Five feet five in height and
That he weighed about 110
And they guessed his age to be
Roughly about 45 years old

Everything that we now
Know about Otzi was
Gleaned from the forensic
Examination of his remains and
From the artifacts that he left behind

What we don’t know
About him
Could fill an encyclopedia

For instance
Could Otzi sing?
Could he carry a tune?
Could he make himself a fire
On some wintry night and
Hum himself to sleep?

Did he have time to tell
His loved ones goodbye before
Meeting his untimely demise?
What were his dreams and
Or was his highest and
Most noble thought
Focused merely on survival
And on putting food
Into his belly?
(Not that there’s anything
Wrong with that).

Otzi carried all of  his
Most prized
Worldly possessions
In his knapsack

All that Otzi possessed
When his body was found
Was the hand hewn clothing
That he had on his back and feet
(Made mostly of a mix of
Animal furs though the shoes
Showed the handiwork
Of a master cobbler)
And his copper blade axe
With a wooden handle
A flint knife
And a pouch with a few morsels
Of food consisting of
Deer meat
Some dried berries
And a loaf of bread

And one other thing
Otzi also had
An arrowhead lodged
In his shoulder

Who would
Want to kill Otzi?
Did a chance encounter
With a rival hunting party
Lead to a struggle over
Competition for the best
Hunting ground?
Or did some chance wanderers
Covet Otzi’s copper headed axe?
We may never be able to know
The solution to the riddle
Behind the life and death of
This glorious
Time traveler from the
Distant past who has become
Known to us moderns as
Otzi The Ice Man
(May he rest in peace
Now that we have finally
Put him to rest in a
Display case for mummies
In an Italian
Natural history museum-
South Tyrol Museum of Archeology
In Bolzano, South Tyrol, Italy).

I would like to go and
Visit Otzi some day
And if I had the chance to
Ask him only one question
It would be this:
Lei, come si chiama?

Philadelphia, Pa. 2012

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