A Moral Alphabet (Excerpt) – a poem by Hillaire Belloc

D: The Dreadful Dinotherium he
Will have to do his best for D.
The early world observed with awe
His back, indented like a saw.
His look was gay, his voice was strong;
His tail was neither short nor long;
His trunk, or elongated nose,
Was not so large as some suppose;
His teeth, as all the world allows,
Were graminivorous, like a cow’s.
He therefore should have wished to pass
Long peaceful nights upon the Grass,
But being mad the brute preferred
To roost in branches, like a bird.1
A creature heavier than a whale,
You see at once, could hardly fail
To suffer badly when he slid
And tumbled (as he always did).
His fossil, therefore, comes to light
All broken up: and serve him right.

If you were born to walk the ground,
Remain there; do not fool around.

E stands for Egg.

Hilaire Belloc
Notes: The Dinotherium is a real fossil (obviously no longer with us!). He looks like this:
dinotheriumIt is thought that they resembled our modern day elephants. You can read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deinotherium
The word graminivorous relates to what it ate – break the word down into gramini, and vorous – omnivorous animals eat a broad range of foods, carnivorous animals eat meat, and graminivorous animals eat grass (which are of the botanical family Gramineae).
I hope you enjoyed this poem with notes!
Best wishes
Lis Goodwin, your voice coach

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