Friday, 22 March 2013

a world before our world

The Lady Professor spends her life
working with the fossil bones of animals
and using them to reconstruct past climates:
wolves roaming the Somerset hills,
hippos swimming where Trafalgar Square is now,
woolly rhinoceros grazing in Staffordshire.

After she has been to the exhibition of
Ice Age Art at the British Museum
she shows me a replica carving
which is small enough to hold
in the palm of your hand
and we wonder at it together.

It is an adult woolly mammoth
carved by someone who saw them wild,
who knew what colour they were,
how they moved, what they smelt like,
recognised the sounds of their calls.

We cannot know why the statue was carved
or much about the person who carved it
but it is the briefest glimpse,
a pinpoint beam of light,
into a world before our world.


  1. Love worlds before our world.

  2. I read 'Clan of the Cave Bear' - does that count?

  3. Today, when the weather seems to have come from a world before our world - I have to travel from Cheshire to Birmingham - I will be looking out for woolly rhino's as I pass Stafford services.

  4. Pondering whether Woolly Mammoths would be warmer than Heffalumps in this weather...

  5. Liz in Missouri (USA)March 22, 2013

    Perhaps a wee toy for a tiny hand to grasp? A Totum? What will the future think when they find our first cell phone?


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