Monday, 31 October 2011 21:31

Thermopylae again?

The Greek government's threat to offer its people a referendum on the euro-bailout package before the finalisation of that package may yet lead to another glorious Thermopylae moment. If they say NO to the empire they will take heavy casualties but secure their freedom, and probably bring the whole empire down eventually.

On a lighter note I present my Samhain Eisteddfod poem here publicly, as its on a secular rather than an internal metaphysical topic. So celebrate this halloween with a poem about the most comprehensively dead person of my knowledge, an ancestor from some 34,000 years ago.

Paviland Man, some thoughts upon Europe’s oldest tomb.

Pavilander, what took you in your prime

Those thirty thousand years ago?

Was that mighty mammoth skull

Laid to rest with you by friends

Some token of your final fearsome prey?

So how on earth did you bring to ground

Eleven tons of muscle and tusk

With flint headed spears?

Or did you heave great boulders down

From the top of the cliffs

Or stampede them over it

With blazing fire torches

Whatever, it must have took cunning and guts.


For such a fine send off

You must have had love or respect

Precious grave goods and offerings of ochre

And what was that for, that blood of the earth

For strength in the next world

Or a token of honour in this one?

I’d guess you would have had children

By your age in those ancient times.

Though over a thousand lifetimes

Separates you from us currently here

You may live in our blood and our genes

But your language we can never know

Yet your tools and your ornaments and tomb

Say to us plainly and clearly

That you must have had thoughts just like ours.


Your friends they gave you the best plot

A high vaulted cave of a million years, facing the sun

Proud and bleak it stands in the bare cliff face

It has seen the seas draw back and turn into plains

And watched the seas return again

Though dolmens and barrows may crumble

Or be stripped of their turf and their stones

That cave survived the glaciers the floods and the storms

The invention of farming left it untouched

Kingdoms came and went, unnoticed

Our feeble buildings do not last like caves do

Our empires rise and fall again to dust,

Let us hope our last archaeologist

Returns you to your resting place

When this fragile civilisation crumbles - like the rest.

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