Richard Wakefield


Kik the Woolly Mammoth, a Cautionary Tale

“From a fossilized tusk, UAF researchers unravel the story of Kik the woolly mammoth”
—Alaska Public Media

(To the tune of Puff the Magic Dragon“)

Kik the woolly mammoth
lived long ago
and foraged for the grass that grew
beneath the Ice Age snow.
Every bunch of grass he munched
bore isotopes galore
peculiar to the place it grew,
preserved forever more
in layers in his mighty tusks,
which with analysis
reveal his life of wandering—
Let us take heed of this!
For after fifteen thousand years
of anonymity
determined research will reveal
your browsing history.

Richard Wakefield‘s first poetry collection, East of Early Winters (University of Evansville Press), won the Richard Wilbur Award. His second, A Vertical Mile (Able Muse Press) was shortlisted for the Poet’s Prize. His latest, Terminal Park (Able Muse Press) was published in 2022. He taught college humanities for 44 years and was a literary critic for The Seattle Times for 28 years.