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.