The Origin Of The Specious

Oh I'm a Neanderthal person
Where I had a stone, you had flint
I'm the sow's ear you hung your silk purse on
You minted coins, I was skint

I munched on mammoth for dinner
You flogged its tusks to the East
When I thought my log sledge was a winner
You were out ski-ing off-piste

I grunted once for attention
Or twice for a fresh field of herbs
But your tribe knew of nouns and declension
And recited irregular verbs

Yes, I was short, squat and hairy
You were slim, lithe, invented the plough
Then you wiped me from pasture and prairie
So who's the barbarian now?

       

[July 1997]

From the book Labour Pangs

Geneticists claimed to prove that we were descended only from homo sapiens, and that Neanderthals, who vanished 30,000 years ago, never bred with our ancestors