Once upon a time

Once upon a time, time was humane, spacious,
It allowed us to rest.
In Winter we entered spans of torpor 
in synergy with the Earth, 
trees, creatures and insects.

Time was the cycles of the moon, the seasons
and the patterns of the stars in their vastness.
Invented by our foremothers, the first shamans
who tended the hearth fires 
held the heart of their communities
felt the celestial bodies of the Universe 
mirrored in their own bodies.
Time engendered balance and wonder.

The women nodded and smiled to each other 
as they notched their rhythm-sticks made from birch wood 
and woolly mammoth bone.
Like spiders at the centre of a miraculous web
they pulled each fine filigree into place 
like the mycelium in the loam beneath them
making a million meaningful connections.

Above their heads carved along the curve of cave wall 
the body of a woman who became known as the Venus of Laussel
one hand pointing to her womb, the other holding up a bison horn 
notched thirteen times for the thirteen moons.

For twenty five thousand years almost every image 
and carving of the sacred was woman.
Hierarchy didn’t exist 
Weaponry and wars were unimaginable,
Culture, art and love flourished.

Nothing about their discerning wisdom or our need for it has changed.

The women stayed faithful to time’s pulse 
some as nomads, 
some intimate with one place for their whole lives
until as Grandmothers their axes shifted 
all separation ceased
the Earth became them
and they became the Earth.