Writings and Witterings

Rock Art


At d’Verse Poetics ‘carved in stone’, Björn is tending the bar. He has given us a series of petroglyphs, carvings found in caves in Sweden.

Tanum Rock Carving: Ship Photo by Björn Rudberg

Tanum Rock Carving: The Sun Ship
Photo by Björn Rudberg

Rock Art

Weather away, feather away
in the acid forests, dissolve,
crumble and fade, disappear
after thousands, thousands of years.

Before you go, let us see once more,
lives lived in harmony,
man is strong, is phallic,
the woman: fertility.

A most important figure,
an icon for what it can do,
the Sun Ship, represents
transport, conquests, food.

Ten thousand ships in Bohuslän
the ship has a finger-like crew
the bulge at the stem, neighing now and again:
the Sun Horse pulling the sun.

People believed that, in the day,
the horse transported the sun,
they wondered how it got back again,
and so the myth began.

Our lifestyle destroys cultural heritage,
and all this wonderful work
will disappear in a few decades,
the rock carvings of Tanum.

Polly Stretton © 2016


19 thoughts on “Rock Art

  1. Thanks k, glad you enjoyed it – what an inspiration this prompt proved to be – I discovered a history of Sweden.


  2. You’ve done some research, I can tell. It’s a fascinating concept in itself – transporting the sun in a boat… and understably important to people whose lands are covered in darkness for such a long part of the year.
    The first two stanzas were particularly moving and rhythmical.


  3. “the Sun Ship, represents / transport, conquests, food.” you’ve wonderfully brought about the time when myth was being born…


  4. I’m so impressed.. what a great research you have done. They carvings are indeed under threat, and they are thinking on how they can be protected. It is still a magnificent site the carvings in Tanum. The interpretation of the sun pulling the horse is interesting, and also that they traded a lot. There is no bronze in Sweden, it was all imported.


    • Wow! I’m pleased that you’re impressed Björn, I looked at articles by Dr. Gerhard Milstreu of the Tanum Museum of Rock Carvings who tells of the horse pulling the sun 🙂 Thanks for a brilliant prompt, I discovered much and enjoyed it–hope the poem does it justice and doesn’t only reflect the research.


  5. I finished it at around 5.30 this morning…there were just 2 or 3 hours left on Mr Linky (!) I’m hoping to move house tomorrow, so you can imagine me, surrounded by boxes, furiously typing up my thoughts about Sweden 😀


  6. I guess this is something you feel very strongly about. Lovely poem .


    • I didn’t know anything about Swedish artefacts until a few days ago, Elaine, but I do like myths and legends of any type–plus I feel strongly about our environment and the damage we, often inadvertently, do 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is wonderful. Has a message within it as well. And you managed to work in the word “phallic.” My teen sons would be impressed. 😉


  8. I specially love the myth of the horse pulling the sun ~ Enjoyed the details of your story Polly ~ A delight to listen and read, thanks ~


  9. Smile..s an age when life is about
    life and not about tools
    alone.. when man
    is man and
    woman is
    as accessories
    that do not rule
    us alone.. who
    is smarter
    i choose human
    i am human too


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