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



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


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



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.



Do Kings Play Chess on Fine Green Silk ?



Do Kings Play Chess on Fine Green Silk ?

Henry moves his vertebrates,
And Louis tunes his tunicates,
While Malcolm swims his sharks and skates
To battle Olaf’s ranks of starfish pawns.
Boris risks bacillus rods
To fight with Oskar’s fungal squads,
As Richard launches octopods
To counter Philip’s shrimp-less group of prawns.
So James arrays his gymnosperms,
Like Ferdinand his cyan germs,
And Otto’s nematody worms,
At Charles’ yet-to-be-discovered spawns.


I should point out that the title is a mnemonic for the Linnaean ranks of life: Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus & Species.  Actually, Domain is a relatively new addition, and plants have Divisions instead of Phylums (or Phyla if you’re a pedant), and the whole thing now looks hopelessly simplistic in the wake of cladistics, but it’s still a handy starting-point.



Cattle Prattle

large bison
Photo by Pixabay on


Cattle Prattle

Are Water- and Cape- the more closely related ?
Who knows ?
Why are those ‘true’ while the Bison are ‘false’ ?
I say they all are true buffaloes !
You label the grouping as polyphyletic,
Like ‘shrew’ –
But what does it matter their genes, when we’re talking
Of big things with horns that go moo ?

So pedants and cladists may mutter and sleight,
But Buffalo Gals, won’t you come out tonight ?

And did you know twenty-five cities and towns
Disagree ?
And how many towns in the States are called Bison ?
Well well, only three !
So don’t try and tell me I can’t call the bison
All ‘buffaloes’, mate !
Cos Buffalo Soldiers and Buffalo Bill,
And Buffalo Springfield and Buffalo Twill,
And the Buffalo Wings at the Buffalo Grill,
Tell me you’re way way too late.

So pedants and cladists may grumble and snide,
But Buffalo Gals go round the outside.