Bug Poem


Glossy blue-black wasp,

sharp as a carpet tack,

tapping along in little forays,

assessing the vulnerability

of my wooden eaves.


A rose, rose, rose

by any other name would

taste as sweet -

say the Japanese beetles,

turning red petals to lace,

eating, eating....


As a boy, I squatted above

their metropolis, studied the furious

comings and goings, awed

by the ants' strict decorum,

their single-minded devotion

to labor's intricacies.

When mother called for dinner,

I was oblivious, enthralled

(it's taken me all these years to see)

by the gift of this infinitesimal universe,

by this flickering glimpse of the infinite.


Sitting, lakeside, so still, so long -

the buzzing filled the interstices

in my memory until

I could no longer tell if

the far-off voice was

the bees' or yours.


A gnat no bigger

than this 10-point dotted ``i''

drops onto the vastness of my notebook page.

But I am engaged in writing and,

without a second thought,

the coming line propels the pen,

barges across the white expanse

and banishes the bug

from the bug poem.


Like the June bugs at night

thrumming madly

at the window screen,

wanting in, hungry for the little light -

words too have a mind of their own,

frantic at the wire mesh of the poem,

wanting more than meaning,

wanting to converse with the unbridled dark,

free of my surveillance,

wanting out.

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