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ON DISCOVERING AN AMMONITE

 

I found you, pretty ammonite, cast down from wave lashed cliffs

And close to spade and bucket beaches, sun block creams and tourist gifts.

With just a single hammer crack I split your rocky prison that

Had held you fast since last you swam in warm, Cretaceous shallow seas,

Before the deaths of dinosaurs, before that asteroid had roared

Its fiery message of damnation.

 

What might your eyes have seen back then, my spiral, patterned friend?

Were you once hunted by the savage mosasaur, or did you spend

Your time in fear of other things - the gliding shadow of the wings

Of giant pterosaurs, that soared above quick darkened waves, on course

For home beside that ancient sea, where rainbow flowers and greenery

Bordered their sunny, bright location?

 

I wonder, pretty ammonite, if you once saw the flash -

The blinding light of mass extinction, screaming wind and fire, which smashed

Your balmy world to kingdom come. Is that when you sank down, as one

Of trillions of your kind, to find your rest in sediment and mud,

To be compressed down into rock, until I ventured to unlock -

[As witnessed by a man, a child, a dog, all curious and all agog]

Aeons of stony isolation?

©Richard Hill

On Discovering an Ammonite [2:26] - soundscape composed by Richard Hill and Paul Hill

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