Shuffling shadows of fire fingers
by Eric Ratcliffe
torchlit, scribing picture magic on stone pages;
caveborn children, naked, squatting,
watching the advent of wall-sacred art
eager on the limestone, wall-enshrined.
Rockline forms of ibex, bison, bear
and bird-headed men in a mine of galleries;
shapes of wing, tusk, fur-form and fang,
antler, horn. mammoth, reindeer,
cave-lion and the Quaternary charger
caught in the memory of green-frame mornings
at Pech-Merle, Lascaux, Altimira,
Champs-Blanc snd Les Combarelles.
What messages from canyon consciousness
twelve thousand years beside the shale?
What messages beyond moraines,
vertical toolmaker, primary hunter
and hominid of the riding flame?
Oracles, maze-dances, ground-pits,
dene holes, burial mounds, shrines
denied, destroyed, all hearthwords silenced;
high life in evergreens exchanged
for concrete markets, cities;
lunar magic polarised to madness,
solar love reviled, except by hill-folk
- all interglacial wonders in museums!
Super-Ape, what messages?