Dinosaurs and J

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
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Poem in A Synopsis of Geology
A Synopsis of Geology

The poem known as Dinosaurs and J is an untitled poem written by Arthur Conan Doyle around Christmas 1904 inserted into the handwritten text of "A Synopsis of Geology By A. B. U. Syman for the use of J".

This little notebook is approximately 16x10cm. ACD wrote the title and dedication on the front cover in red ink. At the top of the front cover, his son Adrian has written, in blue ink: "My father wrote this for my mother. A.M.C.D.", and underneath that: "The author's name is, I think, a joke. A.M.C.D." [1] And, of course, the author's name is a joke. "A. B. U. Syman" is "A Busy Man".

The name "Jean" is crossed out in the first line of the poem, and "J" substituted, though ACD probably intended to rhyme "Miocene" in the fifth line with "Jean" in the seventh. The calendars for 1904 and 1905 are printed on the back cover, so he probably bought the little notebook around Christmas 1904, and wrote "A Synopsis of Geology" for Jean Leckie while his first wife was still alive.


There where fairy Jean J has walked
Beside the ocean Blue
In former days the Mammoth stalked
Or Pterodactyl flew.
The monsters of the Miocene
Could play the deuce with man
But since they say the same of J
We end where we began.

  • Acknowledgments & photo credits: Roger Johnson.