The Cave of Forgotten Dreams


Limestone arches shelter caverns.
Drawings incised by ancients
move in heatless light.
Bones enrobed in calcite crystals
scatter diamond reflections.
Shimmer bright. Animate deer
lion and strange rhinoceros. Horses
regal gallop into my brain. Celebration
of line. Sinew. Muscle. Life.

My foremother stood here. Felt her
divinity. Breathed in smoke.
Ochre hands tell tales of life
in the dark. She lay down into
hollows bowled by cave bears
whose bodies created cradles
in the dirt. She walked on.

Through the parchment
of my closed eyelids
I see you shadowed
against the dawn-lit window.

Your broad shoulders
block out the light.
My fingers remember
solid muscle, grizzled with fur.

I caress the warm sheets
where you lay. Know there will
be a day when this warmth
will not remain at dawn.
Roll into the oval you leave.
Return to sleep and dream of her
and the life they left for us.

An homage to Werner Hertzog’s film, “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” about the Chauvet cave and to William P. Smithem.

Photo credit Wikipedia Commons

10 thoughts on “The Cave of Forgotten Dreams

  1. Oh, yes my sweet Cheryl. Do tell it like it is/was and forever will be.
    The oval hollow nest
    in which to let our body rest.

    I’d like to read your poem at a celebration of poetry, our own and/or the poems of others, tonight, Sunday, May 20. This one so perfectly congers to breath of those who walked so many eons past.

    May I?

    Good night and love.


  2. For me this really brings the distant past whistling back into the present like an arrow. The woodsmoke touched the back of my throat and I could feel the bare earth she stood upon.

    ‘hollows bowled by cave bears whose bodies created cradles in the dirt’ – great line.

  3. Thot it was a captivating & provocative Hertzog film, Thot yr work was just as captivating & provocative but prefered yrs/ thanx so

  4. this strikes me as prayerful verse, at once mystical and completely human … thank you for sharing your beautiful poem with me today. tony

    • Tony, thank you for your very thoughtful comments. That poem took a while and when I finally found it’s heart, it was in my love for my husband and in pondering our human connections with all our ancestors. The film is amazing. If you have a chance, do watch it.

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