Hands From the Past

Hands from the past reaching out to us:

Ocher red, white, dark, brown,

Five-fingered, four-fingered, three-fingered,

Hand stencils sprayed on the wall,

Ocher mixed with spit, mixed with blood,

Blown through hollow bones;

Art as a plea for us to remember

Ourselves when we did not have faces.

Our words now are like hand stencils

That try to stamp eternity

On what we call our own

And brave our sense of time’s passing.

Now, while we still have time,

Let us make hand stencils of our own.

Let us live well and distill life

Into something that will outlast

Today’s disappointments, yesterday’s sorrows

And remind those who will come after us,

That we were here, that we struggled,

And like them we have loved life, nature, art,

And we have tried to claim beauty for our own.

Let our words be our hand stencils;

Let us spray them well on life,

That others may see them and understand

Not only us, not only our times,

But themselves, too.

PS: The image depicts 9,000-year-old hand stencils from the Cave of Hands in Patagonia.

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