The Cardiff Giant

by Kim Roberts

The Cardiff Giant, owned by and exhibited at The Farmers’ Museum, Cooperstown, NY. Image courtesy of the New York State Historical Association and The Farmers’ Museum Library, Cooperstown, NY. www.nysha.org, www.farmersmuseum.org

The Cardiff Giant, owned by and exhibited at The Farmers’ Museum, Cooperstown, New York. Image courtesy of the New York State Historical Association and The Farmers’ Museum Library, Cooperstown, New York.

There were giants in the earth in those days.
The Cardiff Giant, 10 feet, 4½ inches,
buried underground, petrified,
found in upstate New York in 1869
when Stub Newell hired men
to dig him a new well. Soon he had a tent instead,
and charged admission, and crowds
gathered to see the fossilized man
who proved Genesis 6:4. Newell sold him
to a man in Syracuse who moved him
with a crane, 2,900 pounds.
And even after the Yale paleontologist
pointed out the chisel marks and called the Giant
a hoax and a humbug, people still paid.
Barnum offered $60,000, was refused,
and made his own wax replica.
The owner of the true fake sued Barnum,
who countersued, and other fake fakes
were manufactured so the Giant could tour,
and giants walked the earth again.

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About the Author
Kim Roberts is the author of five books, most recently Animal Magnetism, winner of the Pearl Poetry Prize (Pearl Editions, 2011), and editor of the anthology Full Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington, DC (Plan B Press, 2010). She edits the journal Beltway Poetry Quarterly and co-edits the web exhibit DC Writers’ Homes. Her website is www.kimroberts.org.