Dancing Dust

Poems by Mollie Caird (1922-2000)

A ballad of conservation
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This is Cinnabar caterpillar, fat little fellow
In his football jersey of black and yellow,
Who eats the ragwort on Port Meadow.

This is Apantales Glomeratus,
A fly of parasitic status,
Who eats Cinnabar caterpillar, fat little fellow
In his football jersey of black and yellow,
Who eats the ragwort on Port Meadow.

These are the flycatchers, spotted and pied,
Who converge on Port Meadow from far and wide
To eat Apantales Glomeratus,
A fly of parasitic status,
Who eats Cinnabar caterpillar, fat little fellow
In his football jersey of black and yellow,
Who eats the ragwort on Port Meadow.

These are the birdwatchers, coming in herds
With binoculars to observe the birds,
The pretty flycatchers, spotted and pied,
Who converge on Port Meadow from far and wide
To eat Apantales Glomeratus,
A fly of parasitic status,
Who eats Cinnabar caterpillar, fat little fellow
In his football jersey of black and yellow,
Who eats the ragwort on Port Meadow.

This is the Edward Grey Institute
Where great ornithologists, very astute,
Discover birds that eat Apantales
Eat Cinnabar moths with equal ease.

So what we want now is a willing band
To pull the ragwort up by hand.


There was a proposal to introduce large numbers of Cinnabar moth caterpillars to Port Meadow to eat the ragwort which is poisonous to livestock.

Oxford Times, 14 May 1965