Caving in Altamira

Descending once in sub-
Terranean gloom you notice:
Cold and heat and tall points
Of stone that reach up to
A sky, never seen. Such

Darkness here. Rocks that creep
With moss. Tepid puddles of
Water in distant corners. Then

I imagine a torch in hand, fingers
That grope knowingly across
Rough walls. To a spot to a
Place where chatter is heard and
The stillness of tomb-like quiet.

Hearts beating you can hear
Hearts beating here.

Then you look up and see an
Old man I think with his
Frail hands against the wall. The
Torch lights it up as
Bright colors blow from hollow tubes –

Red. Deep reds that
Emblazon the rock, leaving a shadow
Of a hand that reaches out to us
From across time, from
The mist and madness
Of ceaseless centuries.

Note: At the caves in Altamira, Spain,
Prehistoric hands appear on the walls.
Signatures from the past.

12 thoughts on “Caving in Altamira

  1. whimsygizmo March 15, 2016 / 10:13 pm

    I love the voice you’ve taken here. The repeating phrase:
    Hearts beating you can hear
    Hearts beating here.

    …and the way this falls:
    Old man I think with his
    Frail hands against the wall.

    Like

  2. Grace March 15, 2016 / 10:26 pm

    How very interesting to ponder at all the hands and feet that have walked before us ~ This part really struck me a deep and inspiring:

    Red. Deep reds that
    Emblazon the rock, leaving a shadow
    Of a hand that reaches out to us

    Like

  3. Sanaa Rizvi March 15, 2016 / 10:35 pm

    From across time, from
    The mist and madness
    Of ceaseless centuries.

    Riveting..!

    Like

  4. mishunderstood March 16, 2016 / 12:28 am

    Wow…I had to look up Altamira caves. History and art tell a story here but it was the solid image of the torch and the hand gripped around it that led me all the way through your interesting poem.Loved it.

    Like

  5. Mary March 16, 2016 / 12:54 am

    Hands reaching out from across time….I have felt that way sometimes when I have been in the presence of those who have gone before us….particularly in Washington D.C. with the memorials to various wars. But I can understand how strong the prehistoric presence would be felt in Altamira Caves!

    Like

  6. Aria March 16, 2016 / 1:11 am

    The third stanza is my favorite.

    Like

  7. Bodhirose March 16, 2016 / 3:34 am

    It’s so fascinating to me to know that there are handprints of those that lived so very long ago that still remain. I love the sense of the people still being felt.

    Like

  8. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) March 16, 2016 / 5:36 am

    The image of those hands reaching across time is so strong.. I have seen the images, but you put flesh on the ones that left their prints.. So many stories.

    Like

  9. ShirleyB March 16, 2016 / 10:46 pm

    A well-crafted, sinister scene. superbly descriptive stage setting. Good one.

    Like

  10. katiemiafrederick March 29, 2016 / 6:00 am

    Cave Art
    hands free
    painting without
    numbers as primitive
    way..
    best art
    alWays
    comes..
    from
    hand
    oF
    heARt..
    iN or out
    oF Caves..:)

    Like

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