A holiday excursion reaped a small reward – eventually. (An SSSI is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. At such places you have to resist the urge to smash up the local geology just to get fossils for your collection; but you can collect fallen material from the beach, which the sea would otherwise destroy.)
Graptolites and trilobites, and other ancient ghosts
Are hidden in the rocks around the weatherbeaten coasts
Of Pembrokeshire in Wales, or so they say.
We thought we’d go and find them, so we bought the local guides
And worked out likely places; then we checked the local tides
At Solva and at Abereiddi Bay.
“The Cambrian at Solva, in its mudstones,” said the book,
“Has trilobites galore”; and so we went to have a look.
“They’re where the river starts,” the guidebook said.
Precision, though, was lacking, as we found to our vexation;
For, studying the rocks around with keen anticipation,
No trilobites appeared. They must have fled.
To Abereiddi next – an S3I – to try once more.
Forbidden here from hammering, we strolled along the shore
And searched the beach with practised, well-peeled eyes.
Each Ordovician rock we checked, but none appeared ideal –
Until the last. We picked it up and split it to reveal. . .
Displayed within, our graptolitic prize!