Life Carvings on the Rocks

Photo by Bjorn Rudberg

Photo by Bjorn Rudberg; Used with permission, All Rights Reserved

Can you hear our war
cry as we went into
battle that day?
Those cries too are
wedged into the cracks
and crevices of the
rocks that surrounded
our homes and dotted
the beaches nearby.
We watch from the trees
and peer over your
shoulders as you
examine our carvings.
We are amused at
the meanings that you
interpret out of our
simple figure drawings.
You speak of mythology
and religions that we may
or may not have practiced.
Is it not clear?
Can you not see?
We fished and hunted,
warred and protected.
We had fine boats that
served us well.
We loved and had families
who needed to eat, stay
warmed and clothed.
We used the fertile land
that we settled and
cultivated. We died
and were born. Some
liked to depict our lives
on these stones and rocks.
One day I saw one of
you dig up my bronze ax
that I always carried with me.
We were a strong clan.
Is it not clear?
Can you not see?

Bjorn Rudberg shares photos of rock carvings and asks us to share a sense of what they are telling us.  Meet us over at dVerse Poets.  http://dversepoets.com/2015/10/13/dverse-poetics-carved-in-stone/

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45 Comments

  1. Great Poem. Nice pic too.

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  2. Oh yes.. I think it’s so easy to interpret too much into those carvings.. I like the thought of having them being giggling ghosts in the trees… probably they were less different from us than we want to think…

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  3. Ah, I like your approach, Gayle! Very clever. I do wonder what they would think of our interpretations of their carvings. I like the way your poem got inside their lives a bit, gave us the basic flavor of what their life was about.

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    • Thanks, Mary! I couldn’t go further than basic. I whittled their lives down to reflect that they had the basic needs and desires as we do today.

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  4. I admire the unique perspective Gayle, of those ancients looking back at us, wondering if we do hear their war cries and understand their simple lives ~ I doubt if we can ever understand what it means to have a strong clan, to respect their valuables and tools ~

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    • Thank you, Grace. No, we may never understand how their lives depended greatly on the strength of their clan and their important tools.

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  5. Glenn Buttkus

     /  October 13, 2015

    Anthropology is guess work too, not just carbon dating & science; but hey, I dig your levity because even an educated guess is spitting in the winds of antiquity. Always reminds me of when Mike Nichols was asked about the symbolism in THE GRADUATE: “I didn’t put symbolism into it. If you find some, enjoy it.”

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    • Ha! I loved Mike Nichols’ response to the “symbolism” in The Graduate. And how true, a lot of anthropology is guesswork, which I find very interesting. We all can make up stories…which is just what we did today! Thanks, Glenn.

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  6. As an anthropologist, I have to admit I do often feel the dangers of over-interpretation. I liked this tongue-in-cheek demythologising approach…

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    • I had no idea you were an anthropologist, Marina. What an interesting line of work. Yes, it was tongue-in-cheek, and just how will we ever really know the truth?

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  7. I like this perspective. When in University voraciously studying anthropology and archaeology, I learned how much is based on speculation. Oddly, my first thought when looking at this was people flying kites, LOL. My brain said that though I figured they were getting ready for battle and brandishing weapons. Great work!

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    • It really hadn’t occurred to me how much is speculation but really when you are discovering artifacts from cultures long gone and you’re trying to piece the puzzles together, much of that would be taking place.

      Funny that you saw kite flying, Toni, haha,..nope that was not on my radar. 🙂 I was intrigued by those crosses on their middles though…shields? They were a long, lean people weren’t they?!

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  8. Love this approach! I can hear the faint battle cries……
    Beautifully executed 🙂

    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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  9. Oh, yes! So clear. I can see. I love the way you frame these characteristics of human beingness.

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  10. Love this. I love the conversation and self -righteousness you suggest.

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  11. I think the ancient ones would be pleased to know that we still look at their carvings and try to understand their ways and times.

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  12. Hmm.. just my opinion.. but
    i can’t imagine a group
    of men dancing with
    weapons and
    erect phalluses
    if there is no
    deeper realm
    of trance dance
    involved.. but of course
    that has little to nothing
    to do with modern cultures
    and religions.. as that is
    considered savage and
    not real.. what
    an oxymoron
    that is..
    smiles..
    and truly
    sad as yes..
    i know precisely
    what they are doing
    as i DO still do it NOW..
    and can fullY relate to iT..
    as pictures tale a story
    much greater
    than words
    ever
    will
    when
    real men
    and women
    do live as free..
    and OBTW i do
    have a college degree
    in Anthropology.. so it’s
    not all just opinion.. either..
    and ha!.. it wasn’t kosher
    to discuss THE TRANCE
    DANCE ASSOCIATION
    OF erect MALE phalluses
    then either.. of course.. so
    real LIFE experience NOW
    is still the
    best
    teacher
    in THAT TOO..
    THOSE FOLKS
    ARE MUCH
    SMARTER IN
    REAL THAN
    MOST PEOPLE
    ARE TODAY
    IN WHAT
    REALLY counts
    in mind and body balance..
    H U M A N F R E E D O M..
    at least that’s what the
    art tales me now
    in my real life
    educated
    opinon..
    of course..
    and truly it’s far beyond
    either the experience or
    understanding of about
    99% of western world
    ways of
    being..
    sadly..
    i for
    one
    see.. too… now
    still.. i’m afraid.. as LIFE…:)

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    • Thanks for your very comprehensive comment, Katie. I didn’t see these people as dancing like you did, but hey, why not! And you’re right perhaps those are erect phalluses too. I would think though that if you’re an anthropologist and you find what look like carvings of erect phalluses then it would be very kosher to discuss that too. How could you not? Just ignore the obvious? Maybe that’s what I did…ha! Isn’t it interesting how we all can perceive something different while looking at the same thing…

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      • Smiles.. Bodhirose.. i receive my degree in ‘1984’.. no pun intended hehe.. in a still very repressed area of the country then.. and still now.. in someways.. sadly enough.. but no.. the discussion of the phallus in modern Anthropology is not off the table.. in at least books these days.. and certainly not off the table on the Internet as a resource today as well..

        But seriously.. there has been a mind and body divide in general.. in most western religions.. culture.. and even science too.. as the mind has been elevated as somehow superior over the human body.. and oh my goodness repression and or oppression of our human nature in ways of human sensuality and emotionality is a major if not THE MAJOR source of all human suffering and misery.. including propensities toward aggression and violence..

        Our closest primate cousin the Bonobo uses sensuality and sexuality to avoid aggression and violence in comparison to the raping.. pillaging chimpanzee.. and not surprisingly.. to me.. Bonobos are almost violence and killing free as compared to human beings.. so yeah.. perhaps the Free Love movement of the 60’s is not too far off from our innate and instinctual ancestral way of matriarchal free love ways of being.. as still.. our overall propensity.. FREE…

        Anthropology suggests humans have moved from very socially cooperative free loving matriarchal societies in balance with nature.. to controlling patriarchal ways of repressing and oppressing human nature in ways of physicality.. emotionality.. sensuality.. and yes sexuality as well.. making the most natural of human propensities even illusory fears of evil as a ticket to an imaginary eternity in hell as well.. where in general.. the human phallus becomes evil…

        Illusory fears are always the sticks that control humans.. and true nature freedom has zero to do with illusory fears.. the human phallus once a tool of Love and all of human creativity as expressed in human art.. in so-called primitive ancient societies has been replaced as a tool of power and something to fear by the opposite sex.. and same sex as well..

        But times are changing.. ‘Mother’ Nature..
        sMiLEs.. and human nature..
        will ultimately
        have
        ‘her’
        way..
        And ‘she’ IS.. as humans once again
        become free and no longer
        fear the phallus..
        haha.. for me it’s hilarious and sad..
        And from a cultural Anthropological
        perspective the female twerk and
        the popularity of the
        Movie Magic
        Mike and new dance hall
        women dominated Bootie
        dances is evidence
        that the tide is slowly
        turning back to
        human
        sanity
        once again..
        Smart is as Smart does..
        when the ‘folks’ chopped off
        the phalluses in ‘Art of Apollo’
        is somewhere about when the
        real human insanity starts.. but
        hey.. it is what it is.. culture can
        get smart or dumb.. let’s hope it
        continues to gain balance and
        not go TOO FAR.. in one way
        or the other.. it takes practice..
        to get it
        just
        correct.. for the individual
        and society as a whole..
        I have degrees in Social
        Sciences Interdisciplinary
        and Health Science along
        with the Anthropology
        degree back in 1983..
        but with that no
        way to make
        a living
        then.. so i work for
        the government but no..
        i never stopped being an
        Anthropologist.. Sociologist..
        Psychologist.. and additionally
        Philosopher and Health Nut.. THAT
        is what i do now that i am financially
        independent just for fun.. full-time..
        and that for me..
        is freedom my friend..
        and i appreciate you allowing
        me to share it.. sadly
        some folks do not
        understand how
        important
        the
        phallus still is
        as a tool of Love
        and human Creativity..
        and not power or fear..
        i am a phallus pioneer..
        when it comes to
        religion
        again
        and philosophy too..
        and yes.. art as well..
        it sounds funny but it is
        core to human health and
        well being to get the balance
        AGAIN..:)
        And in general society will suggest
        i am insane to do this.. expected of course
        by an Anthropologist like me.. but yeah..
        i am living in Heaven.. so what the Hell..
        NO HELL
        FOR ME..;)

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        • I know very well about those Bonobos. I think their motto is “make love, not war”…truly they are the 60s hippies of the animal kingdom. 🙂 They are a free and easy bunch those Bonobos. I think our culture is so interesting because, in my opinion, many feign an almost Victorian public attitude about sex but behind closed doors, they’re living quite an opposite lifestyle. I would much rather people be upfront and real about themselves instead of false modesty and prudishness. And I would agree with you about the importance of those phalluses…very important “tool” of love and the continuation of our species. 🙂

          So happy you are living in your heaven, Katie! I support you entirely!

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          Reply
  13. you did make us see their life of simplicity with your strong lines…a beautiful visualization of ancient art…

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  14. Love the pragmatism here, Gayle, yet it is an artistic interpretation too…

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  15. They all led a good life. But we took them to be primitive and deprived. How so mistaken we made ourselves think that way!

    Hank

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  16. It all boils down to having enough to eat, shelter, love, family and friendship no matter the era. Nice insight in your poem.

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    • I would think that we sure had that in common with all of the peoples that came before us. And thanks for your compliment…I appreciate it.

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  17. I love this!

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  18. Sometimes these vestiges of the past are too simple for our modern brains to comprehend–an irony if ever there was one!

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    • Yes, we really prefer to overanalyze, complicate, and discuss things endlessly and get nowhere! And I’m not kidding either!

      I’m so very happy to see you venturing out again, Lorna. I hope this means that you are feeling a bit better these days my friend. Hugs to you!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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