paws & hands

A dog
is a variety of Tetrapod
(We call this one Stanley
just ‘cos it’s handy)

Tetrapod means four feet
which as getting about goes is pretty neat
even if the early human
learned to walk on only two of ‘em

Another interesting fact about Stanley
he’s a perfect example of pentadactyly
the same hand bones you’d find in the flipper
of something like a primitive mud-skipper
our earliest common ancestor
in what is probably now Manchester
no doubt it was nervous
when it first broke surface
but found it wasn’t so difficult after all
to waggle its flippers and learn to crawl
(honestly I’ve no idea why
finger bones should number five
– something to do with the structure of the wrist?
you’re better off asking an ichthyologist)

anyway – if it works, why fixit?
who the hell needs a surplus digit?

and as Jeff Goldblum once famously said
before half the Park was screaming or dead
Life finds a way
thanks Jeff – that’s great
but it’s raining, it’s late
and I think the power just went off at the gate

all that evolution for THIS?

Five hundred and fifty five million years ago
(which really is one helluva long time ago you know)
lived a worm the size of a grain of rice
the first of its kind with a mouth that bites
and a butt that squeezed out all the waste
from the endless snacks it ate with its mates
its name?
Ikaria wariootia
(which may or may not be new to ya)

my point is
this cute little joint is
our earliest common ancestor
(according to scientists at the research centre)
and from this worryingly wormy beginning
you get Attenborough
and a plethora
of fauna
swimming and flying
running and diving
leaving and arriving
or humping
or just slumping
in front of the TV
like me
and Stanley
stretched out in a food coma
on the sitting room sofa
two distinct species but arguably one loafer
as sedentary as any fossil you’d knock
from a sedimentary Australian rock

war of the roses

I’d just come in from helping dad weed the roses in the garden
when my brother mick said: hey, shithead – here’s a hard one:
what’s the fundamental purpose of a rose?
I said : to look and smell beautiful I suppose
no, he said. dummy
you’re so funny
no. roses are there to make other roses
it’s got fuck all to do with human eyes and noses.
that’s it. that’s all there is. basic reproduction.
it’s a little thing you might have heard about called evolution.

it upset me at the time, and still, quite a bit
I was fond of nature and he was spoiling it
like he’d stuck a pin through my chest and put me in a cabinet
with a latin name, a label, and I just wasn’t having it
I mean – it was sad and insane
was life really just a numbers game?

it was like asking a gardening robot a logic bomb
a rose to make a rose and on and on and on
till its circuits smoke and its eyes glow red
and it crashes face down in the flower bed

I LOVE roses. Still – I admit it
I wanted to rip one up and hit him with it