Geoff Lander: A Special Kind of Mind



(The poet suggested including footnotes. But I assured him that all readers of Lighten Up Online would have learned by the age of ten the meaning of “sub-ducted”, that Pangea was an ancient continent and that Cambrian, Ordovician … etc are the most obvious examples of the “Welsh name tags” referred to in the penultimate verse. Hands up, those who would now dare to admit that, in their case, I was wrong! -- Ed.)

Applaud those who illuminate
the role of the tectonic plate,
which old strata are sub-ducted,
why volcanoes first erupted
and know sea level variation
mirrors arctic glaciation.

Praise to those, Earth Science gifted,
who saw how continents have drifted;
who clarified the great extinction
and served their cause with such distinction,
worked out how Pangea rifted,
and how the Andes first uplifted.

But I’ll bet a wad of dollars
even these Earth Science wallahs,
in spite of their research heroics,
struggle with those bloody ‘zoics’.

In eon order as they go, it’s
protero, then phanero,
where era subdivisions start
(with Welsh name tags to break the heart.)
Backwards, just to make this flow, they’re:
ceno, meso, paleo.

It takes a special kind of mind,
to classic languages inclined
to master all that history guff
I, for one, have had enough.