Museum of Natural Sciences, La Plata, Argentina – An emotional journey

Quite honestly, I have seen my share of Museums around the world and, unless they are the home of a painting by Max Ernst or another favorite of mine that I am really dying to see, I’m sort of done with them, with the general idea of a Museum, especially while traveling, when I’d much rather see and enjoy real life on the streets.

I know this is not a very politically correct statement for someone working in the arts, but so it is. In any case, paradoxically, I do happen to enjoy some museums very much, once something manages to drag me out there.

Last week, my sister got her PhD in Geology, an occasion that brought me to the city of La Plata in the province of Buenos Aires, which is famous for many things, not the least of which is, you guessed right, its Museum of Natural Sciences.

The only reason for me to go there was because my dear dear friends that I seldom get to hang out with were going, and I just went to spend time with them, basically. What a thrill and a pleasure the whole thing was!

The Museum of Natural Sciences is a nothing-short-of-glorious building set in the middle of this beautiful park; merely reaching the spot was a pleasure in itself. It was a bleak, rainsome day, and I imagined how majestic the building must look in the sunshine, if it was already as spectacular as it was.

The permanent exhibitions are organized in a way that they tell the story of the Universe, starting from the Big Bang, including some magnificent fossiles and replicas of fossiles of some fantastic prehistoric animals, and the skull of a whale large enough to fit my whole family (and it’s a big one!).

Something happened at the Museum. One of those moments, the yaguareté (South American name for jaguar) was looking at me in a certain way, and I started writing on a little notebook. The thing developed into a little poetry collection entitled Museum of Natural Sciences.

I was glad to learn that the seemingly embalmed animals (of which there were quite a few) were only replicas. I actually once stayed at SIMBA HOTEL in Spain, near Moncofa, which is home to a ghastly museum of embalmed animals, about which I wrote many poems as well. The Museum was created by a hunter who was apparently friends with Spanish dictator Franco, and it was just horrible to imagine the killing of the jiraffe, whose body from the neck up I was observing through a glass.

Anyways, here is a link to the collection on my Facebook poetry page. It´s a photo gallery, where a poem accompanies each photo, the photos are mostly from the museum, but I always kind of digress a bit, and I actually used the Museum to talk about a love story, of all things…

Here is a PDF version of the poems (which you will also be able to find on my new poetry site wordnectar)


If you are around South America and you enjoy Natural History, beautiful buildings and learning new things, I thoroughly recommend a visit. If you are lucky to be in the summer, you still have some weeks of sunshine to enjoy. I am only going to Europe in the fall, but you lucky Europeans and North Americans can still find some cheap summer getaway ideas with ulookubook. If I were you, just off the top of my head, I would head down to Greece, it is lovely this time of year.

Finally, here is one of the poems for a taste:

                           Argentavis magnificens (Of birds that cannot fly)
The giant beaks
and alert eyes
that once obscured

the pampa skies
Their weighty wings
they couldn´t fly
but only glide
or catch the wind
their feathered arms
To drift around
the flatlands
dreaming of higher skies
looking for food
or love
or food of love
To have a giant beak
like him
and find no feed
a waste of beauty
a waste of the magnificens

Your giant thirst,
a waste as well
and your magnificent
desire for me
the biggest waste

in all the natural
history of the world

A waste to evolve
such perfect wings
and never take off

and never try your wings
like Blossom sings,
against the wind

A waste to breed
for no one to rejoice
in it

endlessly gliding
that flaunt
their giant beaks
against the skies

and when they find
what they were looking for
delicious prey
that perfect stream
the fountain of
of nurture and delight

they cannot fly to it

they turn away

steering their
in another direction

they pass before
they drink from it

they go extinct
before they live



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