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In Delta Fields

In Delta fields the quillworts grow
Between the soybeans, row on row
That mark their place; and in the sky
The birds, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce noticed by the ones below.

We's botanists!  Short days ago
Someone found hybrid quillworts, so
We've come to find them, now we search
In Delta fields.

Take up the study, you, who know
What DNA might likely show;
The quest be yours to hold it high.
Though some of us may shortly die,
We shall not sleep while quillworts grow
In Delta fields.

            --John McWort




            I wandered lonely as a cloud
            That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
            When all at once I saw a crowd,
            A host of polyploidy quills-
            Beside the lake, beneath the foam
            Emerging from their watery home.

            Continuous as the stars that shine
            And twinkle on the Milky Way
            They stretched a never-ending line
            Along the margin of a bay;
            Ten thousand saw I at a glance...
            As if in some hypnotic trance.

            The waves beside them danced but they
            Outdid the sparkling waves in glee.
            (Some botanist might want to play
            In such a quillwort company.)
            With little spores in shallow graves,
            The germlings tossed upon the waves.

            But I-when on my couch I lie,
            Frustrated by this great duress,
            They flash upon that inward eye-
            A sign of psychiatric stress!
            It's then my heart with anguish fills
            And curses those damned little quills.

                    --William Wortsworth