Petroglyphs

F1040022

Un Verraco
a Celtic Stone Bull
One of the four
Toros de Guisando
700 BCE (?)

Kingsbrae 6.3
6 June 2017

Petroglyphs
&
Other Myths

(for Elise)

Writing on rock,
the words carved in stone,
imposed on earth’s bones,
sentenced for meaning.

This wise woman,
gifted with second sight,
looks deep in the rock
where stone spirits dwell,
sees with unearthly eyes
the stone soul in its residence.

She carves and shapes,
plucks out rare beauty
holding it up
for those of us who have eyes,
but cannot see.

Gentle her fingers,
harsh the rock,
troublesome the birth
that is beauty
drawn from the entrails
of our earth.

Proud mother,
birthing the soul-stone
from its amniotic
sea of rock.

Comment: The four Toros de Guisando are pre-Christian stone bulls, carved by the Vettones, the local Celtic tribe of the Spanish Province of Avila, north-west of Madrid. The Vettones carved sheep, pigs, and horses as well as stone bulls. The carvings were probably used as route markers, land markers, and markers for pasturage rights. In addition, they are often associated with burials and deaths and may have been used as grave markers. There are many such carvings in the Province of Avila, and the squares, streets, and parks of the capital city abound with them.

There is something about the texture of their stonework, especially on a warm summer’s day. Place your hand upon them and they seem to be filled with a secret life, flowing like blood beneath the stone’s surface. Graffiti were plentiful in the Roman Empire, and here the pre-Roman Celtic carvings were defaced by one of the Roman legions as they passed through. The following video will give some idea of the bulls. Alas, there was no orchestral music when I visited the bulls: we were surrounded by a stony silence.

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