Poetry for paleontologists: In Memoriam A.H.H., Canto 123, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

May 10, 2014

Salton Sea sunset

There rolls the deep where grew the tree.

O earth, what changes hast thou seen!

There where the long street roars, hath been

The stillness of the central sea.

Ammonite display at Dinosaur Journey

The hills are shadows, and they flow

From form to form, and nothing stands;

They melt like mist, the solid lands,

Like clouds they shape themselves and go.


But in my spirit will I dwell,

And dream my dream, and hold it true;

For tho’ my lips may breathe adieu,

I cannot think the thing farewell.


* * * * * * * * * *

Photos by me, except where noted. From the top down:

  • Sunset at the Salton Sea, October 12, 2013.
  • Ammonite display at Dinosaur Journey, Museum of Western Colorado, May 1, 2014.
  • Sunrise at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, May 26, 2012.
  • My hand with fossil eggshell from the Cedar Mountain Formation, May 5, 2014. Many thanks to Sharon McMullen for the photo.

5 Responses to “Poetry for paleontologists: In Memoriam A.H.H., Canto 123, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson”

  1. Paul Barrett Says:

    A lot of Tennyson’s work deals with deep time. He had an active circle of scientific friends including Owen. Owen visited Tennyson’s house on the Isle of Wighg and one of the first mentions of Polacanthus appears in Lady Tennyson’s diary entry for an Owen visit.

  2. Jim Kirkland Says:

    Matt; You should write up the conference review for the Paleontological Ass. Newsletter.

  3. Mike Taylor Says:

    He could; but anyone who wants to know about the conference can find Matt’s account right here. I think the value of things like the PalAss newsletter as a medium for news is now pretty low. (Of course there’s lots of other useful stuff in there, like the very helpful PalaeoMath 101 series.)

  4. […] In my curiosity cabinet cartography and geology belong together and Sauropod Vertebra deliver some Poetry for palaeontologists. Historian of geology David Bressan who likes to combine geology and cartography takes a look at […]

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