Here is the girl’s head like an exhumed gourd.
Oval-faced, prune-skinned, prune-stones for teeth.
They unswaddled the wet fern of her hair
And made an exhibition of its coil,
Let the air at her leathery beauty.
Pash of tallow, perishable treasure:
Her broken nose is dark as a turf clod,
Her eyeholes blank as pools in the old workings.
Diodorus Siculus confessed
His gradual ease among the likes of this:
Murdered, forgotten, nameless, terrible
Beheaded girl, outstaring axe
And beatification, outstaring
What had begun to feel like reverence.
Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian. He is known for writing the monumental universal history Bibliotheca historica,
much of which survives, between 60 and 30 BC. It is arranged in three parts. The first covers mythic history up to the
destruction of Troy, arranged geographically, describing regions around the world from Egypt, India and Arabia to
Greece and Europe. The second covers the Trojan War to the death of Alexander the Great. The third covers the period
to about 60 BC. Bibliotheca, meaning 'library', acknowledges that he was drawing on the work of many other authors.