Ode to a Fossil

You could have leapt the other way 
and missed the drop into the mud.
You could have lived another day
and chewed the cud.

You knew this then and as you fell
you turned your face towards the sun
and called forlorn, too weak to tell
your mate to come.

You could have weaned another calf;
you could have seen another flood; 
you could have heard the jackals laugh; 
you might have loved. 

Instead through eighty million years
you call for all who could have leapt
and might have loved, but faced their fears
too late, and wept. 

—————

I’m in North Yorkshire, finding fossils near Whitby.