You don’t find fossils in granite1,
So why do I find them all around?
Sedimentary, my dear Watson2 –
We are formed not by fire
But only time’s slow drift.
Inertia forms its own mass
Of things drifting down:
Price of settling,
Price of gravity –
The price of what?
A great geological cover up.
Don’t blame those who excavate
What once was alive. Those fossils
Are decently dead and done.
I speak of our economies, policies,
The bones of an ancient,
Covered by convenience and things let slide,
Until it appears a mountain
That, they say, is immovable.
1 It’s true, and I never thought about it until coming across this information in David B. Williams’ Stories In Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology (an interesting read for anyone with interests in any combination of architecture, history, urban planning, geology, and offbeat coverage of natural science topics). As you may recall from grade school, the three types of rock are sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic. Granite is a metamorphic rock, formed by fire and time; the fire does for any organic remains what a flamethrower does for a paper crane. Therefore, you will find no fossils in granite – or any metamorphic rock – or igneous rock (hardened lava) for that matter. Only sedimentary rocks hold fossils.
2 Often imitated, never initiated – according to Quote Investigator (a truly entertaining website), Conan Doyle’s Holmes never used this precise line in any of the books or stories.