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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Dear Sir: I want you to know how much I enjoy each issue ofPerspectives in Biology and Medicine and how intrigued I was with the article entitled "Parasite Eccentricities " by Jerry Y. Niederkorn in the Autumn issue. There is one slight correction I have of Dr. Niederkorn's article, however. He refers to Robert Hegner, who, in his book, Big Fleas Have Little Fleas, has a poem regarding this phenomenon. Big fleas have little fleas upon.their backs to bite 'em. And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so, Ad Infinitum. I should like to refer to the original poem by Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), which I believe was plagiarized by Mr. Hegner. So, naturalists observe, a flea Hath smaller fleas that on him prey; And these have smaller still to bite 'em; And so proceed ad infinitum. Thus every poet, in his kind Is bit by him that comes behind. Perhaps Swift was anticipating Mr. Hegner's bite when he composed this verse! s.v. Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 13th ed., p. 296. Stewart F. Taylor 108 East Cook Street Portage, Wisconsin 53901 Permission to reprint a letter printed in this section may be obtained only from the author. Perspectives in Biology and Mediane, 30, 4 ¦ Summer 1987 \ 61 1 Dear Sir: I am pleased to learn of Dr. Stewart F. Taylor's letter addressing the origin of die quote in my recent article in Perspectives in Biology and Medicine. This is an interesting bit of detective work on Dr. Taylor's part, and I welcome his setting die record straight on behalf ofJonathan Swift. Jerry Y. Niederkorn Department of Ophthalmology University of Texas Health Science Center Dallas, Texas 75235 612 I Letters to the Editor POEMS FROM A DIALOGUE ON EVOLUTION HISTORY IN THE EARTH Time toys with the old deaths spider prisoned in amber worms cast from their burrows stone in bone. Tracks and traces of relics —snail, pterodactyl and fern— push their way to discovery whirl in space with us. On my knees to read the stories told in the layered rock I am amazed at the arrogance of protoplasm, stuff of life that copied itself in many forms as it swarmed over sea, land and ice dirough millions of years after the first quivering cell. PIONEERS When lone cells broke from the primeval slime to link together through ensuing time, they shaped the wall of tiny Volvox sphere then swept it through a pond, to browse or veer. Sea flowers reproduced themselves with verve complete with proto-muscle, hint of nerve, and coral polyps built their bony home through shallow waters to a swirl of foam. The worker ants attended heavy queens, their shining young, and soldiers like machines. Alert in grass, lions crept side by side, maneuvering upwind to feed their pride. So to this day—at random or for need— experiments in community proceed. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 30, 4 ¦ Summer 1987 \ 613 FOR A DEVONIAN Come from pools of dwindling deep, slither through turbid waters Leave the shadowy caves of sleep Breach the shoreline, toddle and creep on belly and tail and fins that falter Come from pools of dwindling deep Breathe cliffs of air, jagged and steep, until the hurt no longer matters Leave the shadowy caves of sleep Feed in the shallows, brood to keep filling the ranks of sons and daughters Come from pools of dwindling deep Take the wearisome fervid leap along the way to mammoths and otters Leave the shadowy caves of sleep Nothing to cherish, nothing to weep, eons before the saints and martyrs Come from pools of dwindling deep Leave the shadowy caves of sleep AT NIGHT IN THE CAVE Around her the sleeping others, old woman awake by the fire fails to hear sharp yelps of the drowsing dogs. She considers tomorrow when she will no longer drag wood bend twigs for snares or sew the clumsy leather— and none will bring sweet suet to ease her bones. 614 I Miscellany Above her a hand of hovering shadows engraves her face, at the hearth, caverns in ruins build and burn, embers edged in flame tumble in a heap and...


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