The name they never chose, but took pride in their divergency,
Their ancestors being coarser and frightfully uncouth,
Heavier and hairier and thus more prone to fleas.
Neanderthals were more refined, quite handsome in their youth.
In fact, in their demeanor one could sense a hint of vanity.
Archaic cousins played with fire, but they could now create it.
Their haute cuisine was paleorabbit roasting on a spit.
Henceforth they devised a fiery brew by mashing berries
To marinate the roots and veggies found with digging sticks.
Nomads hunt and gather, so they only owned what they could carry,
Yet on the move they managed to advance in their cosmology.
Looking at the moon they timed their hunts to coincide
With migratory moves of prey to stay alive efficiently.
Their language was advancing, had a name for everything.
With nasal, high-pitched voices they consulted one another,
In contrast to great-grandfathers' grunts and domineering.
Thus their clubs were seldom used for clobbering each other.
They found cooperation more conducive to longevity.
The words they used still lacked the nuanced synthesis of verse,
More intricate expressions through metaphor and irony.
Yet they were developing a bona fide proclivity
For using words as weapons, to criticize each other.
The minute one would turn his back the other would attack,
If only verbally. Each and every one began to vilify his brother,
So day by day collective life became a festering blight.
Their once egalitarian social structure went off kilter.
The hunt did not ensue as symbiotic as it might.
Even worse, the fires went out, which left them all bewildered.
One day a wise man came to them, speaking in their dialect.
He told them there's a tie between what's said and what transpires.
Dissimilar things could coincide, as all things do connect.
Anon they understood that with their words they'd smothered out the fires.
They called a meeting of the band to set up what would come to be
A canon meant to regulate the speech of all Neanderthals.
For centuries not a word was heard of gossip or of calumny.
Yet future generations would decree this law outmoded.
We know what happened next, a Neolithic revolution.
Neanderthals got nixed, Cro-Magnons got promoted.