Fossil fuelled

Friday 26th August 2011

JOAN Collins is less popular than aerodrome, according to Google results. Does this mean she’s obsolete? I have no problem if a (shorter) dictionary removes ‘wittol’ or ‘rundlet’, but why axe the word still widely used for an airfield? or, indeed, the much-loved ‘charabanc’? Grrr!

“Thanks to modern technology… history now comes equipped with a fast-forward button.” (Gore Vidal).

Poems lately spawned by a grumpy fossil:

I am an Ammonite

I am an ammonite
An ammonite am I
I might be hiding in the land
I might be lying in the sand
And if you find me, understand
What you’re holding in your hand

Many million years ago
When warmer waters here did flow
In mighty shoals a mile long
We ammonites bobbed along
Like jewels set upon the ocean
What a poet might call poetry in motion

You may not know this interesting fact
But, originally, we were straight-backed
With tapered shells shaped like a cone
When some of us branched out on our own
By curling up into a nice tight spiral
And this new design, of course, went viral

Our history reads like something of a classic
We survived way beyond the end of the Jurassic
Until – along with the dinosaur –
Some massive disaster meant we’d be no more
Probably a comet or an asteroid
But, whatever… it was far too big to avoid

Since then we’ve just been lying around
Pressed into rocks waiting to be found
By people like you, hunting for a fossil
Some of us are tiny, others quite colossal
Buried treasures to bring a twinkle to your eye
For I am an ammonite, an ammonite am I

From the Old Railway Line to Cleveland Lakes

We walk where once
steaming fiery engines
grumbled across the ground
where once wooden wagons
trundled their wares
down tracks to small settlements
where once dwelt those
who scratched with stone
and scraped with stick
on land they never knew
had once rumbled
to the thud of great steaming
beasts that once tumbled
tired bones into dips
and hollows that would
one day become lakes
bordered by paths
where now walks
a species of biped
leaving different footprints
in tomorrow’s mud

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