Civilization, the Early Years


Cognitive revolution:
the chambered self
scans through the window; the tribe waxes
hand spans in red ochre and the spirited quadrupeds;

paleolithic flutes chant
in bullroar drone,
Picasso bulls and equine splendor
Spastic shadows dance in the limestone jaws acoustical:

the mystical rivers wait,
the cave teeth drip,
the anteroom priest flows through dreamtime
In a mammoth tusk emerges the dawnlight of beauty

impressed in miniature,
streamlined from the bulbous Great Mother.
spirits connect the Bushmen to pithecus savanna,

patchy with umbrella trees,
the ground clawed tight;
pollen escapes grassfire smoke skyward:
Wrathful sirens wail over waves, the ruins in moonlight:

the Minoan labyrinth
housing the bull
under flapping sails| with longitude,
golden thread
out of darkness: the taurine jump over the cratered moon.

Bronze-age warrior culture of
Linear B
immortalized in Homeric hymn,
anointed from stony Arabian navigation—

geographic destiny,
desert gardens watered by cisterns,
\ oasis /.
Towers look toward heaven, the plazas toward the king:

architecture constructed
Time-capsule art reveals lost cultures
after sand
buries or jungles strangle the structures quelling nature.

Pyramids and hieroglyphs,
war in the words
of codices on the Mayan steps
for Quetzalcoatl to rise over each new kingdom.

Sometimes the artisans
leave monuments
bleak, and walk back into the forest,
by the bestial wilderness where the sun sets early.

*[ WSB ].