Sunday, 12 December 2010

The Fire Makers

I was walking past La Cotte, and musing on the Paleolithic inhabitants, and their use of fire...

The Fire Makers

Outside the cave, the land is bleak and cold
But the winds cease here, upon the threshold
And here the wood lies ready, mighty trunks
To smallest kindling, all broken into chunks
And ready for the fire maker of this tiny tribe
Who speaks the knowledge to his son, no scribe
But only oral tradition, passed down by mouth
With learning of the stars, of north and south.
Now the fire maker holds firm within his hand
Flint and stone, for these are on the borderland
Of magic lore, and suddenly he strikes the flint
Again and again, sparks fly, then there is a glint
Amidst the kindling, the dry leaves, and the ash
And he cries out, a wailing sound, as the flash
Takes, a glow begins, first small then brighter
As the fire takes hold, the darkness ever lighter.

1 comment:

Ex-Senator Stuart Syvret said...

Tony, an evocative poem.

I know the La Cotte area very well, have spent a lot of time rock climbing around there.

Most of the routes are extremely serious undertakings - far too hard for me to lead-climb, so I was usually the belayer - seconding the routes after controlling the ropes from below - watching my climbing partner in an effort to make sure he didn't do a "terminal crater" if he came off the cliffs.

He survived - though came within seconds of going on the "deep six holiday" a couple of times.

When looking at the cliff that forms the back of the chasm between to two opposing faces of the buttresses - I often thought of the mammoths - driven by the fire, in fear and panic over that cliff to tumble to their deaths.

Not in any kind of judgmental sense - the people had to survive.

But I do hope they had a kind of respect and reverence for the animals.