Guest poem submitted by Ajit Narayanan :
(Poem #1292) The Auk and the Orchid
We seldom meet, when out to walk, Either the orchid or the auk; The auk indeed is only known To dwellers in the Auktic zone, While orchids can be found in legions, Within the equatorial regions. The graceful orchid on its stalk, Resembles so the awkward auk; 'Tis plain we must some means discover, To tell the two from one another: The obvious difference, to be sure, Is merely one of temperature. For eskimos, perhaps the Auk Performs the duties of the stork.
There are very few poets whose genius is apparent as soon as one reads their work. For me, Lewis Carroll is one of them; Wood is another. This poem is from the book 'How to Tell the Birds from the Flowers'. When it was published (in 1907, I think), it was primarily a children's book, but has been described as a book of comic verse pretending to be a nature book. Wood was a fine illustrator as well as a writer; with each poem in the book he also drew two pictures, one of the bird and another of the flower, with such skill that they actually _do_ look almost indistinguishable! In truth, his poems (this one included) lose much of their comic appeal without the pictures that go with them, and the whole book, with the pictures and the verse, can be viewed on several sites on the net, such as [broken link] http://www.geocities.com/Vienna/2406/cov.html Wood himself was not a full-time writer. He was primarily a scientist, a brilliant physicist who contributed a great deal especially to Optics. (This is another striking similarity between Wood and Carroll, who was a mathematician.) "Wood was internationally known for his work in optics and spectroscopy, in which fields he undertook fundamental research in resonance radiation and in the use of absorption screens in astronomical photography. He also devised a vastly improved diffraction grating. In 1897, Wood became the first to observe field emission, i.e., charged particles emitted from a conductor in an electric field. This phenomenon is now used in the field emission microscope for studying atomic structure. Wood's work on sodium vapor was especially noteworthy (Dunoyer). Wood also developed a color-photography process, as well as both infrared and ultraviolet photography." -- http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/biography/Wood.html Ajit.