The Edinburgh Geologist
Issue no 42

Poet's Corner

Palaeosmilia by Archie Lamont

The poem in this issue leads from the article by Eric Robinson, who remembers the geologist Archie Lamont.

This is one of Archie's poems, a sonnet, written in 1930 and taken from his Selected Poems, published in 1946. Eric's article centres around his own quest to find out more about the tombstone in question.

Dedicated to a fellow tombstone geology


Two hundred years did the dark limestone hold
A script, but all the letters have been lost;
The dead lie nameless. Acids of the mould,
Sharp agencies of wind, crystals of frost,
The drifting rain, the sun, the winter cold,
Splintering tightest atomies apart,
Shew forth the hidden threads of corals old
On the smooth stone traced with minutest art.

Over the myriad centuries between
Nature remains thus faithful to her own,
Dissepiments like a thin veil are seen
About the theca of the hollow cone,
Calyx, tabulae, septa live again
Longer than bones and epitaphs of men.


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