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.