After two hours’ fruitless splitting of chunks of Weald Clay in a Sussex brick pit, I found the faint traces of a damsel fly’s wing. Could she, I wondered, have coped with knowing that this would be her fate?
“Mum, what happens when we die?” asked a little damsel fly,
One Cretaceous day above the Wealden lake.
“Do we float up in the sky? Shall we come back, by and by?”
“It’s a puzzle,” said her Mum, “and no mistake.
“Great philosophers have said that we damsels, when we’re dead,
Go to Heaven if our lives were good and kind;
So don’t fret your tiny head, think of something else instead.
There are lots more things to occupy your mind.”
“But Mum, I need to know where dead damsel flies will go.
Don’t you understand? It bugs me all day long
’Cos my best friend, damsel Flo, says we all end up below . . .
Could it be that great philosophers are wrong?”
Answered Mum: “I must come clean. By the distant Holocene,
It’s quite likely you’ll have been entombed in sludge.
And, if Fate is really mean, and the Gods don’t intervene,
You’ll be disinterred one day by that man Judge.”
“There must be another way,” cried the damsel, in dismay.
“How could Mother Nature play such awful tricks?”
“The alternative’s to stay deeply buried in the clay,”
Said her Mum, “Find immortality – in bricks.”