Cave Painting

Handprints, Lascaux

I remember giants,
Striding in across the plains,
And dwarves who lived deep under the mountain,
And from the forest, lithe elves came
To splinter bone and sup on marrow
By flickering, dancing firelight;
Before we had a word for “Human”,
Before the hills had names
We gave each other comfort in the dark.

We left our handprints in the flame-
Red ochre of the stained-rock windows -—
Our cathedral lit with leaping hunters,
Gods and prey entwined
Upon that living rockface,
Still running
In your electric torchlight:

A world you never knew,
Yet half-remember when
You close your eyes
And place your palm on mine
Across ten thousand generations
Of slow time.

[Oliver Keane is a writer, critic, and reformed copywriter with a BA in
English Literature from Queen Mary, University of London. He lives
with his husband in Chicago. These are his first published poems. You
can find more of his work at warpcorecritical.com and on Medium .]