A Logbook of Wonders



A Logbook of Wonders

What on earth does Philip write
Within his purple notebook, lined ?
What on earth does he record
When fascinated, moved or bored ?
What scribbles he both day and night ?
What wisdom gleaned ?  What knowledge mined ?
What does he with his pen engage
Upon the ruled and virgin page ?

What on earth does Philip cite ?
What theories turned ?  What views opined ?
Bless this ink that interweaves
The world and all between the leaves.
So happy he whose days are bright
With words to muse and thoughts to find –
Shining life, a jewellèd crown,
With endless things worth noting down.



Evolution Chant

march of progress
The Road to Homo Sapiens, better known as The March of Progress by Rudolph Zallinger (here shown in its folded form which only includes six of the fifteen-strong sequence).


Evolution Chant

I am an ape-man,
You are an ape-man,
Just like my great-great-granddaddy ape-man.

I am a monkey,
You are a monkey,
And so is the queen, her ministers and flunkies.

We lost our tails, we lost our fur,
We grew up bigger than we were,
We kept our hands and eyes and hips,
So we’re still monkeys to our pips.

One mill’yon, two mill’yon, three mill’yons, four –
Back in time, back in time, back to before.

I am a mammal,
You are a mammal,
We’re just like my great-great-grand-uncle Samuel.

I’m a reptilian,
You’re a reptilian,
Just like my great-great-third-cousin William.

We lost our scales, we lost our eggs,
We grew up with less bandy legs,
We warmed our blood and changed our ears,
But we’re still reptiles to our gears.

One era, two eras, three ears, four –
Mill’yons and mill’yons of years by the score

I’m an amphibian,
You’re an amphibian,
Just like a German, a Chinese, or a Libyan.

I am a swim-fish,
You are a swim-fish,
Whatever our sisters, Sally-tall and slim-Trish.

We lost our gills, we lost our fins,
We grew up with our necks and chins,
We gained our lungs and lost some cones,
But we’re still fishes to our bones.

One hundred, two hundred, three hundred, four –
Hundreds of mill’yons of years to explore.

I am a wiggle-worm,
You are a wiggle-worm,
Just like our brothers, who squiggle and who squirm.

I am a wet-sponge,
You are a wet-sponge,
Just like our neighbours, the blond and brunette ones.

We lost our universal cells,
We grew up bony, without shells,
We gained our teeth and gained our butts,
But we’re still sponges to our guts.

One eon, two eons, three eons, four –
Ages and cycles and epochs galore.

I am a germ bug,
You are a germ bug,
Just like the scorpion, the skylark and sea-slug.

I am a virus,
You are a virus,
Far enough back, and ev’rything’s a virus.

We lost our tiny little size,
We grew up big and strong and wise,
We may not think so anymore,
But we’re still microbes to our core.

One bill’yon, two bill’yon, three bill’yon, four –
Back in the days of the yoriest yore.



Feel free to change the opening lines to ‘ape-girl’ if you wish.



A Little Lady of Letters

toys letters pay play
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


A Little Lady of Letters

Milly Miller’s Mother
Asked her darling daughter dear
Not to speak such sentences
That echo ev’ry ear.
“With constant core concordance
And repeated repartee,
You really risk resentment,
Missy Miller Mystery.

Please, my pretty precious,
You must vary vocal voice –
Not focusing for phonics
So to chime your chosen choice.
Then lesser-learnèd listeners
Can make-out more you meant –
A little less allit’rative,
My mystic Millicent.”



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.)



If Only We’d Known About Velociraptor, Too !

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 !

A Ticket to Timbuktoo



A Ticket to Timbuktoo

To Timbuk-where ?
You know, down there.
I’m sorry, sir,
That does not stir
A memory –
It’s Greek to me.
You want a cot
For Timbuk-shot ?

No no, my man,
It’s on your plan.
That could be true.
I thought you knew ?
I’ve not a clue.
Well, check it, do !
I’m sure you crew
To Timbuktoo.

I’m sorry, sir
I shall concur
With your request
For Bucharest.
That’s wrong, I say !
Then fine, your way:
I’ll book you in
For Timbuk-skin.

No no, my man,
Not Kazakhstan.
I do not yearn
For Bannockburn.
It’s not Bordeaux
I wish to go,
But passage through
To Timbuktoo !

I’m sorry, sir,
Though some prefer
To take a tour
To Singapore.
But if you wish
For something swish,
I’ll book your booth
For Timbuk-tooth.

No no, my man,
It’s not Japan.
I never planned
For Samarkand.
It’s not Bombay,
Or Mandalay:
I’m telling you,
It’s Timbuktoo !

I’m sorry, sir,
I’ll just transfer
Your ticket out
Aboard the
With cabin suite
To sunny Crete,
For steerage class
To Timbuk-pass.

No no, my man,
I do not tan:
I shall not brown
In Kingston Town,
Nor burn my flesh
In Marrakesh,
But drink the dew
In Timbuktoo.

I’m sorry, sir
Now, as we were:
We’re looking for
Some distant shore –
A pleasure cruise
To stem the blues,
And catch some sun
In Timbuk-one

No no, my man,
I know you can
Quite recommend
I try Ostend.
But truth to tell
I’d rather Hell
Than see Peru,
Not Timbuktoo.

I’m sorry, sir
It’s all a blur
You want a berth
To catch some surf
And land a-port
For g’day sport
And Bonza-brew
In Timbuk-roo ?

No no, my man,
It’s not Milan.
I do not care
For Delaware.
I shall not sail
For Ebbw Vale.
I long to view
Old Timbuktoo.

I’m sorry, sir,
I must demur:
We have no ship
To make that trip.
That city stands
On desert sands,
With no deep blue
At Timbuktoo.


Actually, The River Niger flows quite close to Timbuktu, though it’s unlikely you’ll get an ocean liner up there – but maybe you could paddle a canoe to Timbuktu.  But then, that has nothing to do with Timbuktoo, which is a mythical city of the imagination, twinned with El Dorado.



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.