fossil eyed

it was late afternoon
when I cut out across the dunes
heading for the crumbling cliff head
and its famous, fossiliferous, geological beds

my first find was indecent
definitely more recent
than the early cretaceous
more the raw material of the whole petrifying process

a seal carcase
stinking up the place
more or less intact
except the head had collapsed
into a gawky kind of grimace
like the seal was embarrassed
to be found dead on the sand
its flippers terminally fanned
its eyes all I don’t know
the sorry sockets stripped out and on show

‘grin and bear it’ mum used to say
when things weren’t going my way
well – the seal was definitely grinning
as if life was a joke with no end and no beginning
though strictly speaking the poor thing was beyond any bearing as such
and the way it looked you’d have to say
it was baring a little too much



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