Almost a thousand years ago
a Chinese scientist named Shen Kuo,
discovered fossilized shells
hundreds of miles inland
that made it clear the shoreline had moved.
Petrified bamboo convinced him
that climate change was happening.
But people did not want to hear these things.
Instead he became known for the idea
that true north is not magnetic north.
His magnetic needle compass was worth
spices, gold, jewels—even a giraffe—
as explorers later sailed to Africa and back.
Climate change and the shifting sea:
who would choose such mundane news
over promises of spices, gold, and jewels?
Poem © 2014 Janet S. Wong from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong © 2014 Pomelo Books; illustration by Frank Ramspott from The Poetry of Science: The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science for Kids © 2015 Pomelo Books..