A researcher’s lament


Had we but funding enough, and time,

This coyness, research, were no crime.

We would sit down and think which way

To experiment, and analyse our results all day;

Thou by the plasmid mediated resistance genes

Shouldst gene variants I find; developing vaccines

Ol’ MD, she would complain, with ten new drugs

To develop before the superbug flood;

And should these drugs be a blooper

Thank the stars we have Matt Cooper!

My wealth of knowledge, it should grow

Vaster than empires, and more slow.

A hundred words should go to appraise

Thine materials, and on thy abstract gaze;

Two hundred to describe each test,

But thirty thousand to the rest;

An age at least to every part,

And the last age should set my work apart.

For, research, you deserve this state,

Nor would I publish at a lower rate.


      But at my back I always hear

The sound of deadlines hurrying near;

And yonder all before us lie

Deserts of vast eternity.

Thy novelty shall no more be found,

Nor, in thy conference room, shall sound

My scientific psalm;  lest creationists try

Hide your truth from the light of day,

And your factual honour turn to dust,

And into ashes all my lust.

The grave's a fine and private place,

But none there I think do answers chase.


     Now therefore, whilst the questions queue

Sitting on my lips like morning dew,

And while my willing brain transpires

At every cell with instant fires,

Now let us investigate while we may;

And now, like am'rous birds of prey,

Rather at once our time be slew,

Than languish in their peer-review.

Let us roll all our strength, and all

Our knowledge, up into one ball;

And tear our pleasures with rough defiance

Till we get published in Nature or Science!

© David Wakeham 21/09/13


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