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 [Richard] Owen decided [he would] 'take a run down to make love to Mary Anning at Lyme and then post home.' However, his plans to flatter Mary Anning, and doubtless exploit her ideas, do not appear to have come to fruition.
                                                                        -- Deborah Cadbury, The Dinosaur Hunters

                                                                         His hands:


                                    I was surprised by


                                    her hands: long-fingered,


                                    broad,                         fresh


                                                                        and delicate


                                        the palms as rough    


                                                                        as the belly 


                                                                        of a lamb.


                                       as any quarryman's.                                                   


                                                                        Neither my mother


                                                                        nor dear


                                                                        brother ever had


                                                                        such hands.


                                      Had she been a man,                                                  




                                                                                    I noted


                                        the hard skin of that hand      


                                                                        his great,


                                                                        assessing eyes


                                             might have scratched my  


                                    own,                              such eyes


                                                                        as I have found 


                                        as if I met 


                                    the paw of some ancient  


                                                                        in the face


                                                                        of a falcon.


                                       reptile.  The turtle-beak


                                    that pecks and pecks


                                    at the vegetation it calls on


                                    for sustenance.   



Note: This poem comes from  Elusive Beasts, a life-in-poems of proto-paleontologist Mary Anning (1799-1847) of Lyme Regis, England. Impoverished for most of her days, Anning persisted in digging up and selling fossils to the wealthy collectors, the academics, and the tourists who visited her shop.