Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, TO PALEOLITHIC MAN (RESTORED IN A MUSEUM), by FANNY HODGES NEWMAN



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TO PALEOLITHIC MAN (RESTORED IN A MUSEUM), by            
First Line: My father! Lo, thy hundred thousand years
Last Line: To leave thee standing naked, nameless, here?
Subject(s): Museums; Paleontology; Prehistoric Peoples; Art Gallerys


MY FATHER! Lo, thy hundred thousand years
Are but as yesterday when it is past.
Today thy very voice is in mine ears;
On mine own mirror is thy likeness cast.

Thy sap it is in these my veins runs green;
Thine are these knitted thews of bone and skin;
This cushioned width lay once thy ribs between,
As my heart did with thine its work begin.

Be it however contoured, this frail cup
That holds the stuff and substance of my brain,
From thy prognathic skull was moulded up;
Do I not share with thee the mark of Cain?

Not I should shudder at the thickened neck,
Full from thy shoulders to thy sloping head;
It bore the brunt of many a rout and wreck
That spared the slender loins whence I was bred.

Nor should I blush, my Father, seeing how
Thy furry jowl is kindred to my cheek;
It shuts upon a tongue, I mind me now,
Which stuttering spent itself that I might speak.

I and my brothers roam this rich Today
Unhindered, unafraid, because thy feet,
Stone-bruised and heavy with primordial clay,
God's winepress trod to make our vintage sweet.

What then, Progenitor? Shall we repay
Such debt in any coin but filial love?
Leave thy defenseless carcass on display
With fossil horse and pterodactyl dove?

For thee no epic and no monument!
For lesser hero, meaner pioneer,
Our bays and honors; shall thy sons consent
To leave thee standing naked, nameless, here?





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