Mary Anning Collecting Fossils – A poem by Megan Domaille

Posted on: 3rd June 2015

She felt the clocks stop
Never more than beneath Lyme cliffs She felt the rushing tide rock The Earth around
The thin line of times’ orbit
She felt it knocked
Or dropped, like the fragile pocket watch of
A careless creator, scattering the beach
With a mess of glass and dislodged cogs

In some places, like the sands on Golden Cap
The ground gives way
The time-keeper loses track
The pendulum snaps. Just as the scientists’ scalpel slices into the belly, inside we find
The past, long gone from life.
But still,
She knows, and helps the old bones.
She scratches free the ancient giants forged in stone

With a bronze claw she picks
Her way over Lyme and Blue Lias by the shore,
For imprinted pebbles and vertebrae dredged by the rift Of the Earth as it hurls itself into
The drift of its’ sea.
She gathers the pieces to give to the men, always men
Who devise strange ways they are to be named Stripped and sanitised by cold hands
Then caged in glass cases, tamed

She felt the doors shut.
This Sand and salt stained woman has nothing
In the fickle female brain to offer
The marble wrought museums and precise minds of the stronger sex.
They turned the lock
And held her always apart from those worthy of learning, but,
The wheel of science did not stop
To stand beside her on the cliff

It did not know

How to feel old bones stir and reach
Out through all time from
So close within the rock below.