Quoth The Raptor

Silly Verse Series, 3/?

This pastiche is more recent, composed for the second issue of the Ecdysis fanzine in 2014. I decided to be ridiculously silly and write a pastiche of Poe’s “The Raven” involving dinosaurs, time travel, Doctor Who references, and the opportunity to rhyme “Saurornitholestes,” which does not come every day.

Quoth The Raptor

Once upon the late Cretaceous, when the theropods predaceous
Roamed the plains of vast Alberta for delicious hadrosaur,
I was bending, groaning, drubbing, but my time machine was stubborn,
And despite all of my rubbing, it would not return to war.
I was growing quite concerned now, for I feared tyrannosaur.
Only that, and nothing more.

Ah, distinctly I’m recalling, it was spring, the rain was falling,
The corythosaurs were calling to the mates they would adore.
Eagerly I wished repair, but alas, I lacked a spare
Flux capacitor to bear the load of going yet before.
“Cursed piece of junk!” I glared. “Will I feed a carnosaur,
Or be choked by meteor?”

As I nodded, nearly croaking, suddenly I heard a knocking
As of some strong avian critter rapping on my Tardis door.
“Surely,” sighed I, “surely best is it’s some Saurornitholestes,
For velociraptors rest in peace in Asia, long before.
Bird or beast, I dare not test this wall’s resistance any more.
Grab my gun; unbar the door.”

Open then I flung the shutter when, with many a flirt and flutter
In stepped a dromaeosaurid of the Mesozoic of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not an instant stopped or stayed he,
But, with mien of lord or lady, strode up to me, where he bore
Dragging in his terrible-clawed foot, — a flux capacitor!
I was mute for minutes more.

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to bear me gifts so plainly
Which had no possible place in Mesozoic days of yore.
Was there some ill-starred Time Master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster to this time and to this shore?
To help my posthuman kindred, if they live and aid implore,
Or to flee the carnosaurs?

The door shut; and yet this raptor bore no ill towards its captor
When I asked it, “Worthy theropod, whence came you to this door?”
Trying to process this strange vision, I was plagued with indecision —
Was it stolen from my humans, this advanced device it bore?
But I heard an altered Anglic voice from the dromaeosaur:
Quoth he, “6034.”

“Far into your future ages, dino uplift all the rage is.
I’m a time traveller too, though you’re three thousand years before.
I came back for my kin’s traces, to bring them to the sentient races
And my time machine is parked over on yonder river’s shore —
And your primitive machine could use my spare capacitor…
So I brought one to your door.”

Much I marvelled at this greeting and the wonder of this meeting.
But there was no time to lose, this time when yonder treads tyrannosaur.
With Saurornitholestes lifting, my machine got humming swiftly,
Though he muttered at how primitive I and my people were.
I asked how could I return his loan of flux capacitor.
Quoth he, “Time cap—“
Then, a roar.

The tyrannosaurs were here, and they had no sense of fear,
But believed that we should show respect to elders ever more.
Promptly, then, I floored the pedal, with no thought to pause or settle — And ignoring that the setting was to 6034.
I awoke. Above me waiting, smiling, my dromaeosaur.
’Twas his time. I was of yore.

The uplifted beasts are flitting; in the Tardis queue I’m sitting,
But ’tis years before I get my flight to 3054.
I try being staunch and stoic; but I miss the Mesozoic
Where the culture shock was lesser, and the simple beasts were more.
Six millennia of practice making bureaucracy a chore —
I’d rather face a tyrannosaur.

—Tamara Vardomskaya, February 2014