Friday, 17 May 2013

Game not without risk

A maven in vernal Israel
Once ate a migratory quail,
Laid low by the bird,
He studied the word
“Coturnism” to help him prevail.

When the Common Quail performs its Spring migration north through the Holy Land it consumes en route toxic seeds (probably those of a Woundwort – Stachys annua) that are harmless to the bird, but regularly poison those who, shortly afterwards, dine on the migrant.

A keen ladies' man from Israel
Once ate a migratory quail,
Half dead from the bird,
He employed the word
“Coturnism” to impress a female.

People have been aware of this phenomenon (the poisoning) for millennia; the Old Testament blamed God's wrath (Numbers 11: 31-34). The resulting medical condition, coturnism, has its etymological roots in coturnix, Latin for quail.

There was a gourmand from Israel
Who had eaten a cow and a quail
His abdominal grief
Wasn't caused by the beef
But the galliform in his entrail.

I think I've developed limerickism.