Across these frightful sands

cows once were driven:

grottoes in the riven hills

still depict their story.


Here on the savannah sward

danced men and women, mask wearers

creating gods from earth and sky, life givers, healers

killers in blood and insidious secrecy.


Under the darkening ledges lived a people,

gay artistic lovers of cattle,

dwellers in round huts of brushwood

ritual makers whose evening glance


perceived green meadows,

running streams and great carved rocks

mouthed with waterfalls charged with a roar

of lions and of water.


Gone now are the pointilliste giraffes

of the painter people, gone the lions

and the waterfalls, terrible the landscape now

bleached, parched beyond conception.


Only the mountains stand, saharan chessmen

weirdly frozen in a forgotten game.

Lone paintings recall

the liveliness of these people,


the fresh dawn of Man,

a love of animals

genuflecting in the once green country

of another age.