(A top secret operation that took place at the Johnson Atelier at Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, involving a world famous dinosaur)
Here’s a tale I swore not to tell,
Clandestine commission of art.
Artists, in secret, would labor,
Science would help with its part.
A shipment of crates were delivered,
Their contents unloaded, unpacked.
They’d traveled from South Dakota,
From a dry, barren, Badlands tract.
These objects of greatest antiquity,
Their owners determined by court,
Objects of great speculation
At auction where bidders resort.
The winning bid gavel announced,
8.4 million dollars the price,
The lot, two hundred and fifty,
All apart, but really quite nice.
With measures of high safekeeping,
Our Atelier workers soon found,
Connecting the bones of fossil,
So complete, it really astounds!
For nearly a year we did toil,
Assembling these bones of the past,
Along a delicate framework,
In a manner not unsurpassed.
We’d erected the skeletal reptile,
As though after prey on the run,
There it stood, as years long ago,
About sixty-seven million.
Behind closed doors we would marvel,
At the dinosaur’s shape and size,
Thirteen foot height it did measure,
From hind foot to massive thighs.
The head’s too heavy for placement,
With big teeth, weighs half a ton.
That head would be shown by itself,
For our framework — a molded one.
In a year our task was complete,
Nose to tail, now forty feet long.
T. Rex was packed to leave Jersey,
Chicago is where she belongs.
This secret’s now viewed by millions,
Field Museum we share in your pride.
Our work on Nature’s grand monument,
The tale we no longer must hide.
Burro is a historian living in Burlington County. A Rider graduate, he worked in corporate communications and is founder of Pennjerdel House, Burlington, advocating public awareness and appreciation of local history and preservation in the tri-state area. He enjoys writing about history and, occasionally, dabbling in poetry. The dinosaur described above was the object of a lengthy legal battle before it was unveiled at the Field Museum in 2000.