These Eyes ain’t for Crying

Drawing Eyes Tutorial Man by Xia Taptara


These Eyes ain’t for Crying

The day that she left me
All cliches ran true,
And words like avow
And bereft and eschewing
Were bringing their heft
As their moment was due.
But I’m over them now,
And I’ve things to be doing.

The day that she left me,
All tears ran stains
That nothing could hide,
Not the beards of druids.
But now I’m more deft
At controlling my drains,
And so no salt is dried
By the theft of my fluids.




almond nut organic unshelled
Photo by on



Peanuts will not kill me,
They just make me want to retch,
And chestnuts cannot choke me
But they sure can make me kvetch !
Coconuts are pussycats
That scratch my taste-buds raw,
And almonds leave me bitter,
Should one sneak into my maw.
Macadamies lack the proteins
That could send me into shock.
Cashew, beech and pecan – each
As puny as a hollyhock.
A pish upon pistachios,
Your toxins well withstood –
My shell is hard as hazelnuts,
My kernel strong as wood !
No nuts will ever crack me,
Be they pine, brazil or wall –
My body couldn’t give a fig,
My brain, though, hates them all !




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.



Ammonites & Moabites



Ammonites & Moabites

Ammonites are ceph’lopods
With spiralling shells,
A bit like the nautilus
With gas-chambered cells –
But larger and groovier,
These kings of the ocean,
These chosen of Amon,
These Jurassic movers,
These Cretaceous shakers –
In the Fathoms of Mammon,
From sea-beds to breakers,
Till the shark and the salmon
Cast out these apostles.
But there in the fossils,
Their statues awake…

Moabites are ceph’lopods
We’ve yet to discover
They’re out there, still buried,
In one rock or another –
And each slab we lever,
So hopes the believer,
May yet be inscribed
With this prodigal tribe:
A bit like a nautilus,
A bit like an octopus,
A bit unlike either.
And just like the ammonites,
They need us to free them –
We know not what they look like,
But we’ll know them when we see them.



The Pillars of the Earth

Purbeck Marble


The Pillars of the Earth

What is this power
That holds up cathedrals ?
That bring in the pilgrims,
And keeps out the gales ?
It isn’t lord Jesus,
Nor bishops and beadles,
It isn’t the faithful,
Nor relics and grails.
Forget all the masons
With stone tetrahedrals,
Forget all their chisels,
And braces and nails –
The answer is columns !
Those load-bearing needles,
Those orderly uprights,
Those masts without sails.
And the finest of columns,
So stately and regal,
Use marble from Purbeck
In multiple scales.

Now, wildlife in Purbeck,
From roe-deer to seagulls,
From rabbits to lizards,
From fishes to whales,
Are nothing compared
To her beasts without equal –
But who are these heroes ?
Well, there hang some tales…
For hidden in hedgerows,
There lurk her great people:
Like bees in her fields,
And yeasts in her ales –
But her mightiest creatures
Have built ev’ry steeple:
The lime in the limestone
That polish unveils –
For marble from Purbeck
That holds up cathedrals,
Is held up in turn
By the shells of her snails.

Paley Ontology

time clock silver stone
Photo by Pixabay on


Paley Ontology

William Paley,
(Still quoted daily)
Chanced upon a timepiece while out walking on the dale.
Pondering its presence,
Mulling on its essence,
He saw it was a Made Thing, and all that must entail:
Here there were no surplus parts, no way to make it less dense;
If this must have a Maker – why, then Man must likewise hail !

Grand Mr Paley,
Postulating gaily,
Never knew the fossils that were lurking in the shale.
So too have the watches
Seen their share of botches:
Dodgy trains and axles who have never found a sale.
Cruel is such selection as inflicts their cogs with notches,
And calling time on any found irregular or frail.

Poor Mr Paley,
Breaches in his bailey,
Holes in his hypothesis, all bigger than a whale.
Thermal compensation
And grand complication
Have grown in watches gradu’ly, and clearly leave their trail.
So tick evolves to tock with ev’ry not-quite-iteration,
In the coiling of the spring as in the spiral of the snail.



Holy Smoke





Holy Smoke

“New Pope Francis I was a chemist before joining the priesthood.”
                                                                                                        Daily Standard, 13th March 2013

Black smoke rises,
No bells chime:
No-one gets to reign this time.
Too much ash
And unburned carbon:
No-one gets to put the garb on.
No red shoes
And no election
When the soot absorbs the spectrum.

Of course you knew,
Though could not see,
Locked-in within your conclave walls;
But did you muse
On chemistry,
With thoughts beyond the Sistine halls ?
Your former calling, calling still,
Electron shells that need to fill,
Covalent bonds that still attract,
Reagent spirits interact –
Until, born up on thermal wings,
The particles of life shall dance;
And crowds shall watch these benzene rings,
And trade their schooling for romance.
Francis, Francis, what get’s passed on ?
Less Assisi, more of Aston.

White smoke rises,
Bells are ringing:
It is you, this new beginning.
Within the salts
Have brought fresh air beneath the vaults.
Watch out, though,
For excess flack,
For white smoke stains as much as black.

Of course you know,
Though will you see ?
Locked-in, within your papal robe ?
Please don’t forget
Your chemistry:
It’s not in Genesis or Job.
So will you be the iron fist,
Or will you be the scientist,
And stress how best our souls are driven
Through the brains that we’ve been given ?
Till, born up on hungry wings,
We seek for ever greater knowing.
Who knows what tomorrow brings,
But will you join us where we’re going ?
Francis, Francis, reawaken !
Less Assisi, more of Bacon !