Re: Emmeline Fisher: Lines suggested by the openin
Dec 18, 2007, 10:07
I'm delighted that Emmeline's poem is creating so much interest, and I agree (while some of the lines are a bit dodgy, especially in the earlier version) that it is not an insignificant work. Just noting some corrections to your post (not stuff you knew, just false assumptions you made).
First, the contents of the 1849 urn were never lost, and anyone who took the trouble (ie researched it) could have found them in the Keiller Museum and examined them. Some of them have been on display since the museum's earlier redesign c 1970 (the bible poster reproduced in Michael Dames's book was photographed through the case window), and can be seen there now. The full list has never been published before, but that does not make anything "lost" – it just reflects the interests of people like you and me, who hadn't got around to doing it (it also reflects the excavator Richard Atkinson's failure to publish anything substantial on the 1968–70 dig, but that's another story). One of the purposes of museums is to collect and curate things that might interest future generations: "discoveries" in their collections confirm they are succeeding in what they do.
Secondly, your "corrections" to the poem. I can confirm that it does indeed read "Churchward" in the last line, which if you think about it makes more sense than "Churchyard" (Silbury is not in the churchyard, but there is a path that goes churchward through the field). The same goes for "pipe", meaning the sound of the instrument, paired with the sound of voices in the next line, "chant". You don't say what the "several minor" "errors" in my transcription are, but all I can say is that I transcribed the poem and it looks right to me. You might be right, but really you should look at the original, always the best way to judge something.
Finally, you describe my news piece in British Archaeology as "a rather hurriedly-concocted hardcopy magazine article". Others can judge, but I did the research, published it and as best as I can see, got it right. Perhaps you'd like to add something by tracking down the third possible copy of the poem?