Corvus niger

selective focus photograph of black crow
Photo by Tom Swinnen on Pexels.com

 

Corvus niger

Why do ravens always wear black ?
Do they want to blend in with the pack ?
Are they just too shy to be pizzazz ?
Are they just too moody, cool and jazz ?
Why are they dressed in Sunday Best, not tweeds ?
Are they decked in mourning, veiled in widow’s weeds ?
Or are they maybe prison warders ?
Are they priests in holy orders ?
Are they fed’ral agents on the wing ?
Or do they merely want to go with ev’rything ?
Are they goths and metalheads – or maybe simply posh ?
Or are their other feathers in the wash ?
So why is it ravens always wear the black ?
(But if they dressed in mufty, I guess they’d get the sack.)

 

 

Adders & Ladders

snake & ladder
Snake and Ladder by Cedric Sam

 

Adders & Ladders

Vivaporous vipers give me the vapours,
But I shall envelop these slitted-eyed scrapers.
Rapture enripens their serpentine stare:
J’adore l’addeurVive la vipère !

I’ll stick to the cutest constrictors for starters,
I’ll start with the threadsnakes, move upto the garters,
I’ll scale up the ladderbacks, slide down the smooths –
I’ll dice with your snake-eyes, I’ll slalom your grooves.

Vivaporous vipers are venomous vermin,
Yet I shall unfasten and welcome the worm in.
I’ll love ev’ry squeezer and cherish each fanger –
Ich liebe die Kreuzotter !  Heil die Schlange !

 

 

If Only We’d Known About Velociraptor, Too !

velociraptor
Velociraptor mongoliensis by Fred Wierum

If Only We’d Known About Velociraptor, Too !

My nephew is into his dinosaurs,
And he’s digging up mem’ries lain buried since school,
(But still neatly sorted in synaptic drawers),
With all of those crazy-long names by their scores,
Though actu’ly some of them sounded so cool !
The textbooks would show how to say it, not sweat it,
By spelling phonetic’ly, so’s we could get it.
But sometime’s a wrong ’un would lodge in all twisty –
And once it gets in there, it’s part of our hist’ry.

For instance, how much we all loved diplodocus,
And gave that third syllable all of our focus.
So never diplodocus, that sounded odd-i-cus.
And don’t get me started on cow-pat-a-saurus –
Your patsy falls flat, see – just hear how we chorus
This heavyweight’s name is – by god – brontosaurus !
As known in the bones of all schoolyards before us.
So pronto, restore us our sauropod’s nommus –
Don’t think you can plunder our thunderbeast from us !

Which brings us around to the puh-terodactyls;
To eight-year old boys they were neater than fractals !
Doubt they could flap much, but bet they soared high –
Though not dinosauruses…saur-iss-eez…saur-eye..?
Trexies and steggers and plessies abounded –
Though from diff’rent eras, so not all together;
Non-chronolog’onous, just to be clever.
We’d all have our favourites up for discussion
Like Dimetrodon, cos he sounded so Russian,
Or archaeopt’ryx, with the bestest name ever.

And then there were the trillobites !
That’s how we called ’em in our local playground.
That’s how we called ’em, so that’s how they were –
And given a choice, then I’ll always prefer
Our primary version to t’other way round:
Brill-o-bites, thrill-o-bites, silly old trillobites,
Nobbly or spiky, or all armadillo–like !
From Cambrian glamour to Permian quitters,
Those three-lobal, pan-global, crystal-eyed critters –
Heroic, and stoic, and Palaeozoic !

Tellurians

dinos

 

Tellurians

Do not mourn the dinosaurs,
They had their time and lived it well.
They stomped and roared for all their worth,
They swam and soared and ruled the Earth.

Do not mourn the dinosaurs,
Their bones at least remain to tell –
They gift us sight beyond our own.
To think we might have never known !

Do not mourn the dinosaurs,
They caught the wave and rode the swell.
Their genomes danced their warp and weft,
They came by chance, and likewise left.

Do not mourn the dinosaurs,
They still can weave a potent spell.
Magnificent – and now they’re gone –
They came and went, and life goes on.

Do not mourn the dinosaurs,
They hugely reigned and hugely fell.
Oh Brave Old World, who proudly bore
Each wondrous, thund’rous dinosaur !

 

To any pedant itching to tell me that the line ‘they swam and soared’ is wrong because neither Plesiosaurs nor pterasaurs were actually dinosaus, I’ll just point out that clearly I was referring to Spinosaurus and Microraptor.

 

 

Foxing Day

snarl

 

Foxing Day

On the Second Day of Christmas
We rode out with the pack,
And we galloped through the woods
As we waited the attack.
On the Second Day of Christmas
We cast the braying hounds
As they scurried for the scent
And they ran the fox to ground.

So blow the horns and raise the cries,
Let slip the hounds and shred the prize,
And show to all your blameful eyes
This menace needs controlling.

On the Second Day of Christmas
We wished for peace on Earth
As we hollered for the fox
As we wrenched it from its berth.
On the Second Day of Christmas
As we cantered through the mud,
And wished to all goodwill
As we slathered for the blood.

So blow the horns and raise the cries,
Let slip the hounds and shred the prize,
And show to all your blameful eyes
This menace needs controlling.

 

 

Red in Breast & Claw

animal avian beak bird
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Red in Breast & Claw

Who killed the redbreast ?
“I,”  said Cock Robin
“And I shall not be sobbing
For some robin.”

Why kill the redbreast ?
“He was in my garden
And that I cannot pardon.”

Said Cock Robin.

When died the redbreast ?
“When challenging what’s mine,
As I snapped his brittle spine.”

Said Cock Robin.

How died the redbreast ?
“Painfully, you’ll note
As I gourged his ruddy throat.”

Said Cock Robin.

Who mourns the redbreast ?
“I’ll sing out for his ghost,
Though I only sing to boast.”

Said Cock Robin.

Look !  A pretty redbreast
Is perching in our yard –
Just like a Christmas card,
Good Cock Robin.

 

 

Linnaean quanta

linnaeus

 

Linnaean quanta

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.