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A Numbered Sequence: To the Figures of Horses in the Cave of Chaudet-Pont-d’Arc, After Seeing Werner Herzog’s Documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams

by Nancy Eimers

1)  Would you have dreamed your way so sweetly into this life beneath a flashlight’s shine?  Or spotlit by a movie crew, the grandiloquent voice of Werner Herzog musing over the brush held in a human hand 30 or 33 thousand years ago?  So, do you think the findings in this cave show the birth of the human soul?

2)  Your mouths are open.  One of you seems to be nickering.  Not hungry, or surprised. Your eyes are softly closed, though your heads are all turned in the same direction like real horses looking at something or someone coming towards you.

3)  In the news today an Iraqi man in a hospital bed lifts his bandaged hands like a pair of gloves.  He doesn’t seem to care if he wears them or takes them off.  Probably that will change, when the pain comes flooding back.

4)  Instead of numbers, maybe you would have liked asterisks (little stars).

5)  It occurs to me that stanza one of Creeley’s poem “The Star” could just as easily have been his brush on the wall of the cave—

Such space it comes again to be,
a room of such vast possibility,
a depth so great, a way so free.

6)  All our telescope sightings, crucial to navigation, had to be made in the dark . . . .

7)  I want to say something weighty and metaphorical, such as this: “So much darkness in the human hand.”  Your eyes are closed.

8)  A lot of poetry seems to me very good in the tradition but just doesn’t move me very much because it doesn’t have personal vibrance to it.  When torchlight flickered on the wall, you horses must have seemed to be waking up.

9)  If a bomb went off and you came alive, you would turn your heads, you couldn’t help it, you would shy away.  Maybe sleep would be ever skittish after that.  Or maybe you’d let sleep guide you gently back 30 or 33 thousand years, back inside that hand.  Are there numbers that don’t divide us then?

10)  Acknowledgments: hand of unidentified cave painter; Werner Herzog; Robert Creeley; Buzz Aldrin; Robert Lowell; Jon Anderson; numbers; stars.


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Alan January 22, 2012 at 11:24 am

Good poem. I liked it.

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