Boniface VIII made it illegal to boil the bones
of any man who had died abroad, so during his papacy
all corpses had to be carried intact, or in bloody chunks
from whatever holy battlefield they met their end.
Anatomists of the day had to make their drawings
of skeletons from the burnt or impaled corpses of criminals
interred above ground as a warning to their countrymen
of what happened to heretics, whores, lunatics, and thieves.
All anatomical drawings we have from the 14th to 16th centuries
are drawn only from those quietly subversive sources,
picked clean by birds
disembowelled by wolves.
Please note we are currently welcoming submissions for our Poem of the Week slot on the theme of ‘Strange Bedfellows’ — see below for full details:
Please read the full requirements on our Submissions page, before sending your work.
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