I am an archaeopteryx. I’d really like to fly.

(At least, I am a fossil, and I imitated flight.)

I flap and say the first thing that’s inside my head. Oh hi.

Sometimes I say that left is best when I know that it’s right.


I’m rather like a pheasant, and I wing it, in a burst:

I flutter and I fumble, and I like to give a squawk.

I sound as if I know it all, but I’m pretty unrehearsed:

Sometimes when I aim at sense, it’s nonsense that I talk.


You might say that I’m casual or even rather glib,

But when I say I’m going up, I really mean I’m not –

It isn’t really lying, and it’s such a minor fib –

A bird like me is apt to talk a large amount of rot.


I am an archaeopteryx. I am in charge of youth.

A fossil like myself knows all a teacher doesn’t guess.

There’s ninety-seven ways to tell a whopper, that’s the truth,

But I say there is more, although I know it will be less.


God save this archaeopteryx, its feathers and its tail –

I cannot sail the skies, but I can rub along by trees.

I am the Minister of Education. What a gale!

I always mean the opposite, I really am a tease.


Click here for a story in the Independent


Click here for a Guardian article






15 March 2018

The Education Secretary Damian Hinds claimed that all schools would see a small cash increase in their income. He has now been obliged to admit that this is not true. Archaeopteryx, one of the earliest bird-like creatures – so said Dennis Voeten, a palaeontologist at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble –  was a ‘burst flier’, according to his research – like a pheasant.


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