May 18, 2011

Blast from the Past: Iguanodon Poem

Posted by Evelyn Mervine

Iguanodon skeleton. Picture taken from Wikipedia here.

I have decided to introduce a new, semi-regular feature to this blog, at least for the next little while. “Blast from the Past” will feature past items from my life: pictures, geology-themed childhood sketches, old school essays, etc.

I am currently in the process of packing up my apartment so that I can move to Wyoming this summer and then to South Africa later in the year. I have been sorting through some boxes of high school and college notes and letters and have been finding some interesting tidbits from years ago.  I think some of these tidbits are worth sharing on this blog as they are records of my budding and developing interest in science, travel, and other topics– or simply because they are entertaining. 

For the first “Blast from the Past,” let me share with you a poem I wrote for a high school English class. We could chose any topic we wanted for the poem and I chose… dinosaurs. I guess in English class I was daydreaming about geology. Enjoy!

 Attack of the Fossils
Pit-fallen Iguanodons. 
Not false white casts
But black Belgian dinosaurs
Glasscaged, pinheld.
Too quiet. 
Dimly lit, temperature-controlled.
Sunlight fading
Between great windowbarshadows,
Tallteethshadows, lengthening.
Blood spattering out, blue to red.
Cascading down white plaster molding,
Fingering across green marble tile,
Slowing then stopping, 
Do not touch, merci.
Grasseaters, cow dinosaurs,
Flat teeth displayed intact,
Wide round skulls uncracked.
Predators mired.
Running lizards,
Hunters: tripped, tricked,
Falling, roaring,
At then escaping prey, 

Now centuries fossil-trapped.

The above poem was inspired by my visit to the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences Museum in Brussels. My dad lived in Brussels for two years when I was in high school, and I went to visit him during school holidays. The Natural Sciences Museum was my favorite place to visit in the city. 

I’m afraid the above poem is misleading scientifically. I think Iguanodons were actually large herbivores, so they probably wouldn’t hunt or harm humans if they suddenly came to life in a museum. Well,  maybe they would. I mean, they are still very large compared to humans.There are also other, predator dinosaurs displayed in the museum, so perhaps I was actually talking about those ones coming to life. Who knows– poetry is vague and suggestive, not literal.

My English teacher liked the poem, despite the dinosaur theme. She did tell me, though, that the last line of the poem was “too abrupt and literal.” Oh, well. I have never been very good at poetry. Any suggestions for a better last line?