A SHOW OF HANDS In The Art Of Caves



"The question Snow gets most often. . .is why these ancient artists, whoever they were, left handprints at all. "I have no idea, but a pretty good hypothesis is that this is somebody saying, 'This is mine, I did this,'" he said." (More @ bottom link)


In The Art Of Caves  (. . .Who Knew?)


Far closer to us than to them

in the same rough neighborhood of time

Plato didn't know of this cave

of these findings from

prehistoric humanity

his classic metaphor spot hands-on here


breath-huffed sootpalms & pressed splay of fingers

first thought male now conjectured mostly female but in any event

HUMAN, that much remains profoundly true:


estranged to the convex 

weather of the outer world (in geologic timeframe

like steam on glass!)

with the bear & bull overhead

taking stock 

of ages together

on an igneous canvas of hunted-hunter-artist


I know the pensive stillness there from certain dreams

receiving my feel of rock unforgettably (it often seems)

Someone's handprints

keeping the faith of a turned-from heartset 

clear to this day...our shared-modern mindset.


Taggers, in a way.  But nameless.  And so long

before the first hoarfrost of empire

these lean sprouts of fingers blooming 

their outlines of a point-blank effectively collective bouquet

summoned, raised, unanswered,

outgrown. . .


Left reaching into history

tacitly as the unspoken fears

of all those mothers, mute as whatever the sins 

of all those fathers were

in blackness unbroken 

for twenty, thirty: forty -thousand years.


Here--There then among falling prey, bent bows,

airborne spears v. horn & antler, tooth & claw!

their handspace holds place firmly

drawing in erratic rows 

on the exalted patience of stone

from inside the mountain

claiming the Wages of Awe.


What would it mean to them if they knew?

That such remote offspring should now see

from slabs in their pockets, withdrawn & tapped

or voice-commanded:  "show me handprnts in caveart"


Now, these many eons later

an abandoned holding pattern

the stained hollow

of a snake-sucked egg

(winged serpent known as a dragon)


and if I, though none are rightly allowed,

I think, as with the bellcurve of humanity,

that I could find a pair of handprints

somewhere in all the cave art

that would fit my own like gloves.


And what if there were a pair

from some paleo-messiah man or woman

that offered in haunting effect

magic-feeling to magic-thinking

shamanic  handprints, that, no matter the fit,

whoever pressed their own to those, across whatever

the time between, (eons no neural signal-bleed,

that urgent the force! ) 

would download from that macrocloud on "contact"

a kind of super innernatural light, full of itself shared

given to illuminate a precipitous path from the last of the cave

on bedrock bared, freeing infinitely

into a shocking night of stars never seen before

and a day to break to the next level of human being. 




Were the First Artists Mostly Women? Three-quarters of handprints in ancient cave art were left by women, study finds:





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