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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Ichthyosaurs Feeding

I offer you the only - and I feel quite confident in saying this - the only poem in existence about a pod of feeding Ichthyosauri.

It appears in the Aug./Sept. 2005 Issue (#73) of "Prehistoric Times", the world's best magazine by and for paleontology enthusiasts (not just paleontologists - I mean ENTHUSIASTS!). Many thanks to editor Mike Fredericks for producing a venue where a guy can get his prehistoric nature poems published.


An Ichthyosaur cow and her pod have cornered
a lagooning school of silver-scaled fish.
Agitating outboard tails, they cut loose,
the spiral cloud

With a nod, the cow's snout swings wide,
toothy arc squared by jaw length,
chopsticking a glittering fish.
A shake -
as if to shake it dry,
as if to shake the eyes out -
and down it goes,
and she crows with a grand outside loop,
shooting into the milky blue

- making way for the rest to deftly plunder -

zooms back in to further undo,
snapping down another one, or two,
then pops to the mercury ceiling,
and there draws down a lungful of oh-too-rich air,
then from her reflection
recoils, acrobatic,
and knocks fish this way, that,
happily extracting bright bounty at will.

Upcoast currents deport the silver school at last -
amnesiac to its decimation.

Sun lulls the pod, fish-drunk, to spend
the day wrapped in gibbous lagoon.

The cow parries dopey, double-belly suitors,
diverting them to sisters, then
finally flaunting ventral white,
selects -
cheloniate paddles slapping,
broadcasting satisfaction over the sunny bed.

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