One Poem by Julie Anne Gilligan

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

The Artist Speaks Across Millennia

Inspired by a photograph of Cave painting at Altamira, Spain

It is finished! In time for spring, another cycle,
new seasons, light from darkness.
My eyes are strained from my winter work
with colours I collected at summer’s end.

Rich shades of autumn: reds, ochres, umbers,
sienna, earth, sand, pounded, powdered.
Charcoal from wood fires, greys, whites, ash, chalk.
Mixed with oil from animal fat, just enough.

Colours are limited in range but suit my subjects.
I paint animals like prayers, offerings.
A wish for a plentiful year ahead. We who live
our lives in caves must live always in hope.

Food for tomorrow, for our survival.
We eat to live, we live to die.
These paintings need little translation:
they are the hope that we will not be forgotten.


Julie’s poems are in several anthologies, webzines and first collection ‘The Thickness of Blood’ (2012). Awarded an MA in Creative Writing with The Open University (2018), she is an active member of the OU Poetry Society and Poets Abroad, an international poetry group originating in Ireland. London-born, she lives in Essex.

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