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Poem: "A Harmony of Hominids" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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Poem: "A Harmony of Hominids"

This poem came out of the July 3, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from the_vulture and wyld_dandelyon.  It has been sponsored by the_vulture

I also want to acknowledge some of my personal sources: 1) An ancient ancestress known as Lucy, and a book by the same name which I think is Lucy: The Beginnings of Mankind that I greatly enjoyed when I was growing up.  2) The Earth's Children  series by Jean Auel, who not only personified Neanderthals but also demonstrated how awesomely inspiring archaeology can be.  I have always been fascinated by human prehistory, our hominid cousins, and tales of different species interacting.  While researching this poem, I visited sites on Cro-Magnons, Neanderthals, hominid species, and human evolution.


A Harmony of Hominids


Throughout history,
different types of hominids
have walked together,
the song of our species
not one voice by many.

We have lived in scattered groups,
species clustered in twos and threes,
often mingling at the edges of our territory:
Homo erectus  and Homo ergaster,
Homo gautengensis  and Homo habilis,
Homo neanderthalensis
  and Homo sapiens.

It is difficult to imagine what it must have been like
for our ancestors in each new group, discovering
for the first time other kin, other kind.

The earliest Cro-Magnon travelers
emerging out of Africa would have met
Neanderthals in the Middle East and Europe.
Black and brown hair, dark skin, dark eyes meeting
blond and red hair, fair skin, blue and green eyes --
how exotic, how unfamiliar, and yet how beautiful!
No wonder they fell in love.

It is impossible to imagine
how we could have gotten along
without each other.

Homo neanderthalensis  has strength and memory;
they are our farmers and our miners
our historians and our judges.
They cannot swim easily, and so they devised
sailing ships and submarines.

Homo sapiens  has agility and ingenuity;
they are our hunters and our pilots,
our inventors and our artists.
They cannot fly like birds, but yearning,
they gave us airplanes and space shuttles.

Oh, there may be more
Neanderthals in the countryside,
more Cro-Magnon in the cities,
but you never see one without the other
no matter where you go,
not even on the Moon.

We have walked together
for thousands of years,
hand in hand, our voices
rising above the changing plains,
melody and harmony.

This is the truth we bear in our bones:
we were never meant to be alone.

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