Remnants – #poetry #Earthweal

Remnants 
I imagine
walking here, dimly-lit
revenant:
The cave bear
came to rest here
many moons ago;
millennia, in fact 
during the ‘Last Glacial Maximum’
which we once-upon-a-time
far too poetically called
‘The Ice Age.’

Fragments 
of the cave-bear jaw
found lying on the cave-floor
which might have been fashioned into a flute
although
possibly not:
I hear that strange and subtle music
of the kind
that carries through the centuries,
millennia even;
from the last Ice Age, or
The Last Glacial Maximum:
Neanderthals
did not survive it, and

I’m haunted by their almost-song:
Who will hear ours, once we are all gone?

About this poem

I have written this poem in response to Earthweal’s weekly challenge. This week, Brendan asked us to imagine a haunted wilderness. I took inspiration from a recent visit to Potočka zijalka cave, in which bones of the now-extinct cave bear were found. One fragment of bear jaw had been pierced by 3 holes, which may or may not have been man-made, a kind of rudimentary flute made by the ancestors of modern humans.

A similar bone flute has been found in Divje Babe cave in Northwestern Slovenia, but this, in contrast, was likely to have been fashioned by Neanderthals. If the flute is a genuine artefact, this would prove that Neanderthals were capable of making and appreciating music. Unlike the makers of the Potočka zijalka flute, the Neanderthals (and the cave bear) did not survive the last Ice Age.

I tried to imagine the ancient music of our ancestors resonating through the chamber of the cave, and was haunted by the idea of that long-lost song. Now we as a species face an existential threat, as Neanderthals did tens of millennia ago. Who will hear our music once we are gone? Will we leave behind a haunted wilderness, when there is no one left to haunt?

28 thoughts on “Remnants – #poetry #Earthweal

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  1. Superbly imaginative interpretation of the prompt Ingrid… and adored your follow-up story…and these two lines stirred my warped imagination…
    ” I’m haunted by their almost-song:
    Who will hear ours, once we are all gone?”
    … There’s no need to worry Ingrid, the ‘Great White Man’ has found the “Cure”…. wow we are saved, thanks to the great white chocolate Jesus….

    The Great White Chocolate Jesus

    I’m awake and alive
    It’s time to leave this hollow beehive
    I’ve been stung and I’m screaming
    I found the CURE, and I’m beaming

    Believe me. It’s worked
    My arrogant mind smirked
    That Dettol’s a great liqueur
    A real miracle CURE

    Before I went to bed
    I did what the great white man said
    And smothered my daytime fears
    Even lathered behind my ears
    A dabble on my nose
    But couldn’t reach my toes

    Slept like a white chocolate Jesus
    Dreamt I was the great white bio-genius
    And I awoke CURED from yesterday
    Fit and eager for my next isolation day

      1. Yes.. I’m doing a manuscript for a book of my poems, hopefully to be published by ‘Fae Corps Publishing’, maybe January 2021.. here’s a list of my Chapters, that forms the backbone of my book..
        “Tullawalla. A Meeting Place”

        Chapter 1.
        Nature, Trees, and the Air We Breathe
        Chapter 2.
        My Empty Hands Are Full, Of Memories and Rhymes
        Chapter 3.
        Dragons, Wizards, Faeries, and a Space Craft
        Chapter 4.
        Humour, Wit, Sarcasm, and Christmas Stories
        Chapter 5.
        Observations, The Sound of Silence
        Chapter 6.
        Travel. Air, Land, and Sea
        Chapter 7.
        The Family Tree and Dream-time Stories
        Chapter 8.
        Haiku’s and the Leftover Champagne
        Chapter 9.
        Not Horror, But Weird
        Chapter 10.
        Beyond the Blue Horizon

      2. Wow, thank you for sharing this with me. Do keep me up to date with your progress. I’ve got the idea for two manuscripts myself but haven’t put them together properly yet 😅 do you mind my asking how many poems altogether you are including in yours? I can’t decide if I’m creating chapbooks or full-blown poetry collections!

      3. I originally picked 150, but I knew that would be far too many.. I’ve been gradually reducing the number, to get to about 100… plus I have 12 Haiku’s… so basically 10 per Chapter, but under or over…
        I’m not really sure myself, … I follow basic poetry submission guideline…. ‘New Times Roman Font’… size ’12’….. and printed in single line spacing … with no margin to left-side..
        Maybe I could send you a PDF copy of some Chapters I’ve drafted… through your ‘Submission’ site/page….

      4. Wow ..you’re in luck Ingrid … I’ve done a First (rough) draft of 8 Chapters so far.. I’ll convert into a PDF in a minute and send via your submission page…. and of course I don’t mind… Here I’m about to publish my ‘First’ book at nearly 70 yrs old, and it’s lovely to help somebody out Ingrid.. 😀😊

        ” Where Is Love?”

        Behind every word
        There is a thought
        Between every thought
        There is an emotion
        Underneath the emotion
        There is a heartbeat
        Below the heartbeat
        There is a soul
        Within the soul
        There lives love

  2. Music is something that evokes entire worlds, and just the thought of the ancient notes as remnants of the lost past is haunting. Many places retain layers of their former residents and I think your cave is one of them. (K)

  3. What a great find of history artfully delivered. I can feel the echos of the cave. You have such a way with words!!! And YAY my response is going through. It’s the little things that matter most!!! ❤️🤗

  4. Werner Herzog in his movie about the Chauvet cave said the paintings found there beamed back across “the abyss of time,” and that is the bone flute music I hear here. When we are gone, it may be millions of years before any sentient life develops or arrives to read our vastly ancient signatures. Like disturbing the dust on the moon. Great haunting here and wonderful response to the challenge.

    1. Thank you, Brendan. I’ve seen that documentary ‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams.’ It was a long time ago but probably this set the idea off in my mind.

  5. I’m a little Ne-an-derthal
    Playing with my flute
    I can play Jack/Jill/up hill
    Play it well, you beaut

    Didn’t know Neans wrote J&J did ya Ingrid?….

    Flutes were already around…..

    Maybe I should write a book of rhymes to set the record straight?….

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