April 29th, 2016

Monocle Husky

Paleolithic Bear Cults

When I was little, I was fascinated by a picture in one of my many books on prehistoric life which showed early humans worshipping a bear skull. That's probably what made the scene of primitive religion in Neil Gaiman's American Gods stick in my mind, many years later.

So, when the second [adjective][species] poetry collection called for poems involving animals and religion or spirituality, this is what came out.


As you made fire,
so you made me.
From the skull of a bear you killed
not because she was attacking
or had attacked before
but because she might attack
From the skin of a sleeping lion
you tracked and speared and thanked
From these things, you made a god.
From nothing, you made the idea of god.
You named me as you name your children.
In me you pour your prayers
your fears
as you store meat in your clay pots.
I am your bear-lion-god.
I am dead things. Empty space. And power.
What do we make next?