Cave Painter

He takes a feeble torch below
Into a terrible tomb,
Forbidden journey inward
To nether world and womb.

Nor love nor lust direct his step,
Though pregnancy is sought.
Not Coleridge's caverns these,
Nor Keats's elfin grot.

In truth, he's not a painter;
Art is not his need.
He's pure inseminator;
These images are seed.

A shaman, frenzied or inspired,
He makes his way unshod,
The animal he pictures here,
His food, his kin, his god.

Horse, elk, bull, and antelope
In darkness here must lie.
Their maker so intended them,
Not imaged for the eye.

We visit Christian caverns now,
Chartres and Notre Dames,
Awed by arts of tinted glass
That dances, dazzles, flames.

We image in them gods of Light,
Trinities, Jehovahs.
We dwell in caves of galaxies,
Black holes, and supernovas.

The dancing colors stun the eye.
Weren't images forbidden?
What is it here enlightened,
To cave men so long hidden?

A Darkness much less understood
By our up-lifted looks
Than cave art brought to light, now visible
In coffee table books.