Cave Painter

Cave Painter

Cave painter stood and knelt on the floor.
Whoever he was, he knew how to draw.
Blue bison, red elk, grey mammoths,
animals his tribe hunted and saw,
he captured on the wall of his cave,
not knowing long after he had gone,
the demolisher time his art would save.

To him the stars were sparks from a flint.
In the dark, he watched them flicker and glint.
White moon, yellow sun, brown mountain,
to what lay beyond they were a hint.
His hand amazed, four fingers and thumb.
Not even the old scratcher of signs
could give him pictures of what was to come.

Build a bridge of jade
to pass over the river
to reach the far shore
that cannot be held
in the glass of a mirror.
Shed the plans you made
till there’s nothing behind you.
All your dreams discard,
so your step is light,
watch the knots you tied undo.

 

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