(Poem) Cave Artists, circa 35,000 B.C.E. by Robin Scofield

Darkness fills the cave until they bring

firelight so as to charm the sacred place.

Women and teens climb a steep hill.

It’s so cold one of them stamps her feet.

Then to kneel on human knees,

evolved ill-formed, so many moving parts.

What tools for art to start, in pain and semi-light,

with paintbrushes fashioned from animal hair

and reeds.  Baskets for Earth’s palette.


In cave after cave, we find them,

the negative handprints made

by blowing pigment around hands

placed on walls. A billion nerves in

each absence, artists’ signatures borrowed

from beyond time. They cannot know this

will be preserved and the ochre that seems

to gallop through bison and stag and horse

leaping off the cave’s muscular contours.


Read Meet Mago Contributor Robin Scofield.


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