Ballad of El Guettar


There once was a guy, stubborn but spry,
who traveled near and far.
A Mousterian King, who sat by a spring,
his name was El Guettar.


You'll remember the name, for it comes with some fame:
a Mousterian man of resolve
who fought to the end, disdaining new trend,
and avoiding the push to evolve.


He lived by a spring and kept all his things
in a pile of rocks by the pool.
But now and again he'd throw tools down, and then
ride off on his Mauritian mule.


North, south, east or west the Sahara was best,
as he wandered throughout the last glacial.
It was green and alive and to hunt was to thrive
(without thought to the optimum spatial).


He used stone balls and flakes by the paleolakes,
and now and then a point
or a knife/s sharp blade, so skillfully made,
to dismember his prey joint by joint.


But then came the day when the rains went away
and left only a handful of pollen,
with harsh desert sands sweeping over dry lands
to show that less rain had fallen.


El Guettar returned home, to his spring and his stone,
to watch carefully over the water
and avoid the new gangs hunting strangely with tangs,
as the weather got hotter and hotter.....



In the region today, when dusk's light fades away,
you can hear a Mousterian breeze
as it blows o'er the sand -- long dead lakes of the land --
and whistles through Pleistocene trees.


His soul may be gone, but his legend lives on
to be sung both near and afar.
And though far he did roam, now only desert's the home
for the one they called El Guettar.


Jeanne Sept

copyright, Berkeley, 1978