Friday, February 24, 2006

Furry Fossil

Pharyngula: Jurassic beaver

One-sixty million years ago,
We see from prints, and tooth and bone,
The oldest furry mammal known
Would dive for piscine treats below.
Castoro: beaver; cauda: tail;
Lutra: otter; similis: like.
Guard hairs, fur, an ankle spike,
Bones a creature's traits unveil.
Scales on tail, an otter's spine,
Seal-like teeth and swimmer's limbs;
Another one of nature's whims
That filled a niche before decline.
Hints and traces, clues that thrill us:
Castorocauda lutrasimilis.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Recasting the Wieseltier Spell

Pharyngula: Give me creaturely over preacherly any day

If you would shield young minds from men of wit
Who wield the pow'r of nature's subtle lore,
Enact this sacred ritual before
All those who love the blessed Holy Writ.
Take first a cruel likeness made of straw
Fast bound and spiked upon a crucifix;
From halls of glass then cast your stones and sticks
With vigor at the figure's every flaw.
Now raise a song of triumph, non-germane,
To drown the unrelenting drone of fact;
Use passion's blaze to bluster and distract
From logic's grasp, where only beasts remain.
Through this pure act your fundamental fears
Are washed away with Leon's weasel tears.