Otzi The Iceman, murdered in 3,500 BC
Shot with an arrow, bludgeoned to death
Had 61 tattoos, like a human tapestry
His skin was cut in lines and xs
Charcoal, rubbed into the wounds
An early form of acupuncture?
2,500 years ago a Ukok princess was buried
Beneath the Siberian ice beside two warriors,
Her bodyguards going onto the next world
Her certainties, unsullied
She will always be 25, with complex tattoos on her shoulder
Ukok royalty had matching marks, an early identification marker?
Herodotus noted down in fifth-century Greece,
A tattoo was the stamp of a slave or criminal
A sign of the human drugs, brutal and feral
Thracian women tattooed themselves,
Were called Mad Women or The Raving Ones
Decorating their legs, arms, necks
A cult, claiming supernatural powers
Silhouettes of animals -deer and snakes
Crusaders and pilgrims were inked
As souvenirs of their trips to the Holy Land
Holy, hallowed, distinct
Coptic Christians tattooed the Jerusalem cross on their arms.
To show their religious belief, one step up from charms
Tribal tattoos, with waves and lines, is the Maori style,
Where each one tells a story.
Their facial tattoos show status and family history
17th century sailors first adopted tattooing
Bound needles together, dipped in a mixture of ink and gunpowder
While all the while, the boat rocked back and forth
Out on the open sea, with many a blunder
An anchor denoted the sailor had crossed the Atlantic
A lucky man or a skilful navigator
A dragon meant the sailor had been to China.
A turtle meant the sailor had crossed the equator.
A superstitious seaman bore tattoos
As talismen to guard him against drowning.
A pig and rooster on opposite feet were common
(as neither animal swims) .
The sailors hoped those symbols would be life saving
Of the thousand years-old tattoo style of batok,
Tapping an ink-dipped thorn into the skin
Apo Whang-Od was the last surviving master
Up to 100 times a minute taught from mother to daughter
The Chiribaya were a pre-Inca culture
Several mummies have been discovered
Tattooed with scroll work, birds, apes, reptiles, circles
Made with soot for healing or scared rituals
An ancient Egyptian female mummy
Was covered in lotus blossoms, cows, baboons,
And "wadjet eyes", a symbol to ward off evil glowers
Her tattoos stretched over her hips, arms, back, and neck.
She was an important figure with religious powers
Amunet, the tattooed priestess of Hathor
Was put on earth to protect women through childbirth
The drifting sands of time covered her worth
The Tarim female mummies of China
Were adorned with crescent moons,
Owls and scroll patterns. A sign of Goddess worship.
A male had sun tattoos upon his temple
The two may have been shamans to their people
So, if you chose to become one of the tattooed?
Which methods of skin imprinting d'you think would suit?
Western electric instruments that buzz like bees?
Japanese Buddha ivory needles? Burmese pointed sticks?
Or amateurs wielding pins and soot?
Today, tattoos are seen as very chic
David Beckham has 60 tattoos,
With a ship under his right armpit
Which could be described as unique
Katy Price has a pony galloping up her leg
Miley Cyrus seected a dream catcher
Paris Jackson has seven chakras
Justin Bieber's skin is the canvas
For a giant rose
But beware. Skin stretches and sags
Wrinkles and blurs and may be too overabundant
And the heart and arrow naming your current squeeze
May soon be redundant
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.I would like to translate this poem