Ecology as a whole is a…hobby of mine.
Much like the good Dr. Pockless, whose line in lepidoptery veers off the chart of scientific intrigue towards something which I shudder to think of as being near to, or at least in the same postal district as, sadism, my interest in biological spheres is not limited to the heaving bosoms of the keen female English students who line the front rows of my classes.
The many crossovers between the field of poetical endeavour and that of our animal chums are more frequent than you might think. If the field of poetical endeavour is, for example, a large, spacious field, well grassed with the occasional clump of daisies or dandelions and bordered with well-kempt hedgerows, then the field of ecology is over the hedge right next door, and there are lots of gates.
The grass in the field of poetical endeavour is greener. This is because, despite the combined efforts of every member of the animal kingdom, more…(shall we be kitsch here? Shall we call it by what it is? Of course not! We are civilised people! Kitsch is what we do)…more useful fertiliser is produced in the world of English Academia.
This nitrate advantage comes about as a natural fringe benefit to the huge arena of debate and discussion which goes on in the field of poetical endeavour. Myself and Doctor Pockless are, of course leading advocates of what has come to be known as Pockology, which is currently the main source of this brown gold.
It is not new, however.
The legendary John Keats grew weary of extended hand-waving debates over the mustard pots and cruets in the refectory of his home university of Derby. He viewed the whole process of academics arguing with poets over what they themselves meant as somewhat useless, and hence unleashed his fearsome genius upon those who walk amongst the groves of Academe, in his poem of the October of 1789, on Thursday the 18th, just after teatime.
Dare thee to question mine heart and mine pen?
My poems are open to all who might ken
whose eye and whose hand can read or turn page
not talk about sh*te and engender mine rage
to all but you fooles it is patently clear
mine wordes are quite simple, not fuéll’d by beer
yet you debate on nothinge, you squabble on nit
push around you dung beetles, your big balls of -[Censored]
“Dung Beetle” was revered as a poetical term of both the highest praise and the lowest of the low-brow insults (depending on the season, the poet concerned, several meteorological conditions and the geographic context, of course – nothing in poetry is simple) for nearly three hundred years.
Until, one day, a young intrepid explorer, Yangston MacCavity, financed by the Imperial Society for the Furtherance of The Understanding OF Faeces (ISFOTUOFF) on his four year mission to go, Ecologically speaking, where no man had gone before, catalogued the most common type of dung beetle on the continent of Asia as Shiteaterus Maxipongingus or ‘Keats’ Dung Beetle’, rather taking the shine off the whole business.