I recently visited the rock shelters at Bhimbetka in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. These shelters are renowned for their trove of prehistoric rock drawings. These lines came from that visit.

Here he sits, an ancient caveman
Drawing stick figures on a rock wall
Giving shape to his vision, his dreams
Answering his inspiration’s clarion call

His drawings depict his primitive world
Here a deer, there a cow, or a wild boar
On a good day he will draw an elephant
A hunting scene if he lets his imagination soar

These pictures convey his profound joy
His life was simple, his troubles were few
The paint has faded, the lines have blurred
Yet it’s plain to see, he was just like me and you

Well, on second thought, maybe we’ve evolved
He took shelter in a cave and yet he had so much to tell
We live in our mansions now but we have so much to hide
We don’t tell our stories now, we merely buy and sell

I stand here and marvel at this surfeit of art
I admire this treasure - thirty thousand years old
In his certainly short and perhaps violent life
He couldn’t have imagined his story would take hold

Thirty thousand years - that’s a very long time
We have multiplied, plundered and conquered it all
We’ve reached a point when nothing’s built to last
Yet I stand here staring at these scratchings on a wall


In 1990, five New York youths were wrongfully convicted of the rape, assault and attempted murder of a jogger in Central Park. It later emerged that the police had manipulated them to obtain confessions that were false. In 2002 the serial rapist who had committed the crime was apprehended, his DNA matched that found on the victim and he confessed. The five young men, who had served over ten years in prison where some were brutalized, were released and the charges against them were vacated, but their lives were altered forever. The story of the Central Park Five has been dramatized in a new television series called ‘When They See Us’. It is on Netflix.

The next time someone tells you even the littlest white lie
Stop them and ask them please to reconsider: Why?
For this is the story of the Central Park Five
Who were forced to lie and nearly paid with their lives
Four young children, a young adult who wasn’t even there
Convicted of rape and murder in a manner most unfair
Hoodwinked by the cops, caught in their vicious snare
Condemned by a cruel city and a society that just didn’t care
A vile man even advertised that these five kids should die
He simply wouldn’t buy the truth that they were made to lie
That man is now our president - to him we turn a glass eye
Even though he’s committed crimes that he continues to deny
Bullied, cajoled, deceived by the law, five children took the fall
A justice this blind, this broken, should we call it justice at all?
When a young girl was raped and killed, on a whole nation it cast a pall
Five young innocents went to prison - no one bothered to answer their call

Five young humans faced the fearsome fury of a million naked apes
This is the heartbreaking story - of not one, but six gruesome rapes