For the pioneer dead

It's easier now to heed the signs,
To recognise Death's designs:
The foul fungi in a fairy ring,
The scorpion's crooked sting,
The plant's lethal bloom,
The water's taste of doom.

We see and know the score,
One false step, one blundered bite,
We pass through Death's door
Into everlasting night.
But in the cold light of day
We should remember those
Who paved the way,
Women and men unknown,
Once alive, now bone,
Adams and Eves all,
Whose deaths are on Fate's roll call;
They were the precocious pioneers,
The ones who had no natural fears,
Experimenters with food and drink,
Those who did not stop to think.
Without them we would not know
What to plant and what to grow,
What to press and what to sup,
And when to say, 'Something's up!'.

Who watched what killed the diners did follow suit,
Ignoring evermore that particular funereal fruit,
Yes, we owe a debt of gratitude to the pioneer dead,
And not just for things we have all come to dread.
For they had a profound effect on our etiquette, it is true,
As in our table manners, hence 'You first',
'No, please, after you'.

Poetry by Christopher Fernie
Read 426 times
Written on 2016-08-22 at 11:52

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Kathy Lockhart The PoetBay support member heart!
I so enjoy reading your poetry. You always bring a delightful pause of refreshment and offer up great ponderings. :) kathy

Jamsbo Rockda The PoetBay support member heart!
A great subject. I used to joke with my son that cavemen had a person who was the "tester" in their group. That poor soul had to taste new plants, eat new animals and put his hand in the fire to see if it was hot. What a rotten job. Thanks for reminding me about that.

Phyllis J. Rhodes
A great commentary on an issue I've never seen written about. There is so much sense in this yet you present it in a whimsical way that can't help but leave a smile along with gratitude.