Guest Poem by Neil Beardmore

Winner of Richard Burton Poetry Competition in the nineties, Neil has performed his work widely and published his poems in Orbis, The French Literary Review, The Interpreter's House, Cannon's Mouth and more. Two novels, Lemon Seas and Painted Ghosts have been published in the last few years and his new collection Making Cars and Blues Art Guitars has been released recently. This poem is from Acumen 109.

Cave Paintings, Onuke Kundi,
Near Hampi, India

Boulders of granite tossed in
tumbling piles around a flat oasis
of date palms hold the plateau
safe from intrusion.

Camouflaged by the earth’s ochre,
a bulge of rock with deer,
where men, no longer sticks with sticks,
come to shape with spears,
hunt across granite.

The curl of the human form
troubles insurgent shapes
in a chaos of creative surge,
figure over figure, life coming up from life
on boulders smoothed by sun,
where stories are thrown back.

The impulse to endure and command the life-force
from within and survive its incoherence,
the errors of time, pain of life,
drawn as mirrors to existence,
painted up.
We live. Art says so.
Outlives our bones.