Life Endures

How tall we sink to stand up proud.
Snow drags us down, the sledge lies waste.
Rotting wood, rust-red stain
linger on the dank-wet smell.
We try to hide the holes
gnawed by hungry winged fiends
canvas-scraped death we look in the face
while knives tear at the awning
but scars are integral, scars mask our flight
the yearn in the fleeing
the shudder in mouthfuls
words carefully chosen
or else
swallowed deep inside.

How deep the well and murky.
How friable the shelter.
Find twinges before the gush ends
before the light fails.
When all is said, done, shuttered
how fiercely life remains in the picture.

Copyright: Bjorn Rudberg

Over at dVerse Poets Pub, Bjorn has us telling stories about the prehistoric stone carvings found in Sweden. I chose a snowy tale, of course, but join me over at the site to see many other pictures made by early man (and woman).

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20 thoughts on “Life Endures”

  1. I like the thought of how a sledge can be your lifeline, your purpose of being. It almost reads as a love story for that aging sledge, which I’m sure it was. Travel was so very important, and though people had started farming during the bronze age it’s clear that part of their life was still nomadic.

    1. I was thinking of the Sami people as I wrote this, I have to admit, although they probably came along later. I love your interpretation of it, by the way: love song for a sledge.

  2. Times were hard survival was the goal with the need for shelter and food. The ending is haunting as the pictures remain carved in stone for future generations to interpret.

  3. “How fiercely life remains in the picture”—I think this is the strongest message I feel from your poem. This has not changed over the ages. Despite the ‘scars’ life continues on.

  4. I’ve read the poem 5 x . Could you tell me more about the meaning of awning and twinges in the poem? I’m having difficulty understanding these two words in the poem.

    1. Sorry to be so opaque…
      ‘Awning’ is the canvas cover you have on a house, a tent, a cave – I imagined they might have something like that to protect the fire at the mouth of the cave from snowfall.
      Twinges – or twitches (I was doing a sound association there as well) – speak of signs of life, but also signs of regret, of opportunities missed. The gush being life itself, but also the bleeding of animals, or the dying out of the fire. I tried to find words that would work in multiple contexts.

  5. A stalwart hearty proud look at life in prehistory, & an incredible analogy & explication for the gorgeous glyphs. A terrific poem, energetic & respectful. Did you know the Swedish word for Free is Fria? Your /friable shelter/ took me there; course you used the English differently, but the synchronicity is strong. I like your lines /the yearn in the fleeing/the shudder in the mouthfuls/.

    1. Thank you, Glenn, for a very interesting analysis. I did not know that Fria is Free in Swedish, but I was thinking of the goddess Freya in there somewhere (I really don’t know how some of the words and images come out…)

  6. A place.. a now where balance
    reigns True to Nature One..
    where spirals of
    Center are
    what moves
    us and never
    mind
    alone..
    in ways
    words
    astray
    from what
    is core as True..
    Spiraling Circle of Life
    living inside outside now
    above below all around..:)

  7. I like the thought of love song for a sledge. I interpreted it as a boat although a boat could also be used for a sledge. Such a deep and strong write – respectful. “how fiercely life remains in the picture” = that instinct doesn’t seem to have changed after all these centuries. We struggle to survive in spite of all the downs and hardships. I think these people had a had life but they struggled to live because they loved life. Your poem doesn’t exactly say that, but I take that away from it. hard life, but with love.

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