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Ichthyosaur poem

I've just posted on my site a poem about a pod of Ichthyosaurs feeding. The literary merits are...well...not for discussion here (I've got a team working on it day and night). It's one entry in a book-in-progress of paleontological nature poetry.

Though I hope you get pleasure out of it, I'd be in your debt if you all could also set your picks and brushes to digging at the poem from a science perspective. I want the poetry to be true to the flavor of pastoral and nature poetry, but have the whole thing rest on a firm (even if unseen) bedrock of good, clear paleontology.

Brainstorm, criticize, shake your heads disapprovingly, be cruel to be kind. Your mission - perhaps the first of its kind in history! - attack the paleontology of a poem!

So here's a URL:


Below is the actual text.

Many thanks,



An Ichthyosaur cow and her pod have cornered
a lagooning school of silver-scaled fish.
Agitating outboard tails, they cut loose,
the spiral cloud smashing.

A nod and the cow's snout swings wide,
toothy arc squared by jaw length,
chopsticking a glittering fish.
A shake -
as if to shake it dry,
as if to shake the eyes out -
and down it goes,
and she crows with a grand outside loop,
shooting into the milky blue
- making way for the others to deftly plunder -
zooms back in to further undo,
snapping down another one, or two,
then pops to the mercury ceiling.
She draws down a lungful of oh-too-rich air,
then from her reflection
recoils, acrobatic,
and knocks fish this way, that,
extracting bright bounty at will.

Upcoast currents deport the silver school,
amnesiac to its decimation.
Sun lulls the pod, fish-drunk, to spend
the day wrapped in gibbous lagoon.
The cow parries dopey, double-belly suitors,
diverting them to sisters, then
finally flaunting ventral white,
selects -
cheloniate paddles slapping,
broadcasting satisfaction over the sunny bed.

--Neal Romanek

Neal Romanek http://www.nealromanek.com