Mausoleum to the dying arts
of taxonomy, taxidermy,
An exoskeleton, to contain
the accumulation of exhibits
in support of Mr Darwin’s thesis:
the trophy heads of ruminants;
the badly upholstered apes;
the trays of assorted beetles;
the cochlea of a fossil, and
a complete set of surgical bills:
spatula and forceps and tweezers;
fashioned to probe the intimacies
of the cockle’s inner ear.
What religion could remain deaf
to such meticulous cataloguing?
To cap it all, hung from a trapeze
an assemblage of whale-bone,
quaint as any contraption dreamed up by da Vinci,
as if to demonstrate, summing up,
that Nature has a Renaissance mind
and inexhaustible patience.