born hyphen deceased
Composer Emily Levy, poet Rose Drew
You know me as dates -
an in, an out.
See me as science, shift these bony sticks
See me as you,
sense your own life: the whole of it:
and that hyphen,
that trace of dream.
This is part of a longer poem of the same name by Rose Drew who, as well as being a poet, is also an anthropologist. It was written in response to DNA analysis of 20,000 human remains stored at the British Museum. The study describes the ‘very first Londoners', all with diverse international origins and unique life stories revealed by bone analysis.
The poem explores the variety of stories these bones can tell. How much do we in fact share with those who have come before us? What stories will be revealed in turn by our bones to future generations?