The Captain’s keen to explore, go deeper,
Take core samples, measure astronomical tilt.
He says the clues are down there and the truth;
Our forebears, numerously well-preserved,
Point to the paradox of their success: death
Learnt from them and wore a cunning face.
We throng the younger layers of sediment,
Lie curled in the embrace of great forests
That overran new land, perished, grew back.
And lower down we’re much in evidence, too,
Across the globe, a race undrowned and diligent.
We were much smaller then. We cowered and hid.
The mystery is in the interval, the Captain says,
Where nothing but the same poor pollen remains.
No larger predators, no catlike cometary snarl,
Only a grin composed of mystery’s missing teeth.
The Captain works so hard he barely eats his kids.
‘What happened, what happened?’, he squeaks.