Poems of the Week

Sea Legs

by Julia Griffin

“An ancient four-legged whale with hooves has been discovered, providing new insights into how the ancestors of the Earth’s largest mammals made the transition from land to sea.”
—The Guardian

A fossil’s come to land with grooves,
Indicative of tiny hooves,
Which, as it seems, evolved to grow
Upon each light fantastic toe.
This leggy creature, we may guess,
Was not a natural success;
It found its landed prospects dim,
And so, in time, it learned to swim,
Began to float, enlarged its scale,
Inflated and became a whale.
Encoded in such bones we see
The also-rans of history;
Behold a tale which has no proof
Except a lonely little hoof
From Moby Dick’s ancestral kind,
Anonymously left behind.