. Images of Darwin, Post-1859 1859: The year the ponderously titled On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle For Life was published. A fat, combed beard mimes fluffed white wool While in a pose of gravitas That at that time was usual--- The God-right presence of his class. He’d sit through winters, sure and warm, Beard hair tucked round chin and chest--- And this at length becomes his norm--- A deep and thoughtful sage at rest. Through garden, hothouse, chicken coop He marks up life’s set ways and quirks But never brews Primordial Soup, That’s from a later writer’s works. His scrambled nests of hair-thin thoughts That strangle Genesis and Christ Are served as aperitifs of sorts Or plates of flesh and plant, fine-diced: Hors d’oeuvres or starters for a feast, Meticulously noted peeks At worm and barnacle and beast, Orchids, rodents, finches’ beaks. But the main meal’s only smell, The smoke of promised food that’s shrill, That doesn’t wholly turn out well, A fluffed merengue that doesn’t fill. Each observation goes so far--- Then stops. The origin’s not reached. Though piled with produce from afar, The banquet’s platter’s holed and breached. He has a menu, beard, and bib, Sits and eats with due concern, Sincere and humble, seldom glib, Always at work so all can learn. It’s lucky Darwin kept to books With beard to keep his throat well-scarved For if his work had been a cook’s His well-kept family would have starved. . . Redbeards Karl Marx had a bigger beard than Engels. Engles had a bigger beard than Lenin. Lenin had a bigger beard than Stalin Who had no beard, just a lip of wangles. Stalin’s ’stache was two huge laughing roaches That he hoped showed him more a man than Mao Whose smooth moon face, full udder of a cow, Has been the hook for followers’ approaches: So Bosses of the Party go clean-shaven (Though they’re not clean inside nor anywhere). They frown on full-flown forms of facial hair, Use cut-throat blades to keep their image graven: The CCP’s so scared of losing face, Its leaders won’t leave one hair out of place. . . Damian Robin is a writer and editor living in the United Kingdom.