"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)
A SHOW OF HANDS
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
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
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)
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from slabs in their pockets, withdrawn & tapped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: