English has many a-loanword;
Absurd a-name, as if to suggest
(Despite how much they’ve grown so blurred
And settled-in, so you’d never have guessed)
The day may come when they must pack
And once and for all be all given back.
French, please take the biscuit,
And Persian, fetch your cash,
Norse, collect your brisket
And Arabic, your sash.
Chinese, we have to unravel your silk,
And German, it’s time please to drink up your milk.
Greek, fly out your planet,
And Spanish, kill your roach,
Italian, shift granite,
And Hungarian, take coach.
Tongan, please, release taboo,
(Though we’ll never shift Tahitian tattoo).
So Hebrew, take Israeli, then,
And Dutch, stop pushing foist.
And Latin – now an alien
With all your words unvoiced.
We hand them back all bent-up and slurred,
And full of…thingy…you know…oh, what’s the word ?
Michael’s ones are round,
But Gabriel’s are pointed;
With orders, each is crowned,
And moldings, each anointed.
With stonework tightly joined
And structurally sound,
Gabriel’s are pointed,
But Michael’s ones are round.
In architecture, from Greeks to the now
There are only three orders to choose:
Doric, Ionic, Corinthian columns
Are all that will ever be used.
Yet each has a world of variety in it,
From Bassae to Capitol Hill;
So Tuscan and Composite aren’t so unusual,
They’re Doric, Corinthian still.
Hold off the tinsel and un-ring the bells,
Don’t hack the holly, at least for a week,
And don’t eat the chocolates or savour the smells –
Endurance, my friends, we are far from the peak
We’ve barely entered December, remember,
We’ve business to busy and bills to be paid.
For awe and excitement need patience and pacing –
It’s not like we’re likely to miss the parade.
The thing about Phylums and Classes and Orders and all:
They don’t really mean very much, from a-one to another –
They don’t show a definite border or wall,
Except that each member within is a brother.
But how shall we simply compare, say, a Fam’ly of fishes
With Fam’lies of insects or fungi, or some other race –
For nature won’t readily yield to our wishes
For systems and schemes with all life in its place.
What’s needed are rankings that indicate something specific,
Like maybe the age when such clades were diverging anew –
There must be a way to be more scientific
That merely to shrug and decide “this’ll do”.
Then maybe some Kingdoms or Phylums will prove to be hoarders,
While others lack class in their Classes, now under-supplied.
So finally, let’s bring an order to Orders,
And give ev’ry Genus some Family pride.
It always struck me that the Linnaean ranks would be more useful if either all of their inhabitants shared a minimum percentage of genes, or alternatively that they were diverging at roughly the same time as all the others of that rank.
You know me much closer and touch me much deeper
Than any could ever before –
You bring to your table this soundest of sleepers,
And open me up to explore.
You rend me asunder with gentle‘est plunder,
To survey my hintermost-lands;
You ease my distress with your tender caress,
With my life firmly held in your hands.