PETRACOS, CAVE PAINTINGS



This poem was inspired by a recent trip to Petracos, a few miles from my home. A short climb from the valley brings you to a walk way from which you can see the cave paintings, explained on panels as part of the restoration of the area by the MARQ, archeological museum of Alicante. The paintings are an outstanding example of macro schematic art dating back 8,000 years and it is inspiring to find them in such a quiet and natural setting. Apart from the safety rails and explanatory panels the landscape feels like it has changed little since an unknown hand painted the rock walls and took shelter in the Sanctuary Cave. 

Thanks to Lesley for sharing the walk and her photographs.

PETRACOS

Treading the stone path
head bent against blinding sun,
shaded rest under leafy boughs,
chasing the sun creeping from
valley to Sanctuary, stopping to
gaze upwards at rock canvas,
eyes slowly perceiving shapes,
patterns, figures sprouting
in burnt red from mustard grey.

Whose hand left their tribe’s trace,
haunting eight thousand years hence;
clayed earth mixed with red ochre,
pigment coloured like blood
that oozed from thorned skin,
life dripping from carcass
of antlered deer, speared then
honoured in delicate relief,
to weather time on rock face.

Whose eyes looked out from
black mossed cave socket,
unblinking stone pupil viewing
sun lit slopes, cragged rocks
greened with life bearing trees,
the Sanctuary, site of ancient rite,
calling down moon blessings for
a safe hunt, merciful weather,
the nurturing of young and old.


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