Thirteen Ways of Looking At An Ancient Boar

Cave Painting, Sulawesi, Indonesia, ca. 45,000 years old 


There was a hunt for the wild  

boar.  They heard a grunt  

and had to confront 

a roar. 


So says the sow 

“Sucking, sniffling, snuffling  

I search for something  

Succulent and sloppy 

Such superb sustenance.  

Superero, I will survive.” 


The limbs that created this boar 

Couldn’t physically hold it. 

But the boar’s own small limbs 

Were strong enough to transport it.  

Run, run, run away. 

From the harm of the creators. 


The boar, so triumphant and free, 

hasn’t aged a day. 

It transcends the odds of aging, 

encompassing the definition of immortality. 

The Boar is old, ancient. 

Its bones, its tusks, dust– 

Dead but immortalized  

by hands of red clay. 


Striated fat, a lack of muscle. 

The hungry reach to grab you– 

Captured as forever art, not to eat. 


The timeline of history 

is not a linear path. 

It branches like a grand willow – 

at its stump, the lines jolt & squeal 

in prehistoric mud.  


What was so special about this boar?  


Did its tusks shine in the sunlight 

In a way no one cared to notice  

Before plunging their spears into its flesh?  

Or is this boar just the platonic model of its day, 

Standing for every boar slaughtered in the hunt?  


The wants of the body supersede the mind. 

The mass taken up by our trunks usurps images and attention, 

yet requires less energy than our brains. 

The desire to be known: 

a rustic animal renders 

the creators and the created  

the same. 


Carved crudely a reminder of hands 

grasping for the kill,  

a reminder of a creature 

fortunate to be remembered 

if only to be hunted. 


Evolution means recording 

the death of the beast 

with the color red and 

asking what changed,  

and why a Boar is still a Boar. 


An image was crafted by hands that saw  

the beginning of time–  

for this earth is no longer the same  

and hands do not work  

the way that they used to.  

These hands must be remembered  

as they once were  

surrounded by the earth in its purest form.

This piece is a collective effort produced in the context of a poetry workshop.

Pozzatti, Rudy. Illinois Digital Heritage Hub.