The Poet Visits the World of Other Creatures.
Creatures can speak to us in verse...
The Poet Dallies With the Creatures.
We are all enamoured with those gorgeous creatures the butterflies. But, mostly unseen in the blackness of the night, the butterfly's brothers on the wing, the moths, hold sway. Their colours are more subdued as befits the lack of sunlight, but they are every bit as interesting and beautiful in their sombre cloaks with the intricate markings. Relaxed with butterflies, we are all a bit uneasy with moths: do they remind us of mini-vampires or are their swept-back wings and strong, purposeful flight slightly menacing and lacking the dizzy and harmless ebullience of their daytime cousins?
The Moth and the Flame.
Moth, why do you choose to die,
Your days are e'er but few:
To flit along bright moonlit path;
To sip the morning dew.
To dance beneath the heavens
With another velvet sprite;
Make love in scented lilacs
All through each balmy night.
Is it because it's all too much,
Your madcap, frantic game?
Or, because it's not enough,
You purge yourself in flame.
Most in Britain fear our yearly invasion of wasps. As the warm months arrive, the yellow and black striped invaders take to the wing and boldly fly through our open windows or invade the beach and picnic grounds to look for something edible. In panic we scream, "Arghhh! It's a wasp! And commence to flail away at the tiny creatures who had meant us no harm, except for pinching a bit of jam from our sandwiches or curiously checking out our complicated homes. Irritated at our violent behaviour, they zip into combat mode themselves, occasionally delivering a painful sting to the maddened giant making so much noise and threatening to smash them from the sky. Their tenure in the sun is short, when Autumn comes, they slow and prepare to die with the first frosts.
The Wasp Comes to Breakfast.
Come on then mite, I see you're able,
Come and share my breakfast table.
No debts to square; no talk of money,
Alight here - right by the honey.
Autumn's here, the air feels chill.
Not much fruit to eat your fill.
My time's short, yours far shorter.
A sip of tea? A nip of porter?
For you to fly on ragged wings,
A chap should eat some jam and things.
Before you bow to Old Jack Frost,
Feast. Enjoy, don't count the cost.
Farewell dear wasp, head to the glade,
Your buzz well oiled with marmalade.
Scrape the toast crumbs from your nose
On the petals of my climbing rose...
Those who have spent time in the tropics will be familiar with the little reptiles known as ghekkos. They lie, just out of reach on the walls everywhere waiting to capture insects. Their huge, liquid black eyes seem to watch us and they must because capturing one is nearly impossible as they dart away from clumsy hands at the last moment.
Shrewd unblinking eyes:
The reptile watches
High on my wall.
Tiny life; vital spark.
His timed escape
Just a courtesy to me
Whom he understands
Could never hurt him.
London's Richmond Park has one of the largest permanent herds of deer in the country. The fawns are born in the Spring and their innocent curiosity is a sight to behold for hikers.
Like a frozen question mark:
Reflected in those ebon eyes
A universe of shy surprise:
The fawn in Richmond park.
Once, the plains of the US were covered in Bison, the thunder of their hooves filling the air. Passenger Pigeons filled the skies with huge flocks. But man's greed and wanton destruction of the creatures in his world back then nearly drove Bison into extinction and succeeded in ridding us of the Passenger Pigeon; the last of their kind, Martha, dying old, blind and friendless in a New York zoo. I find this so terribly sad.
Requiem for Martha.
The notice just read "Martha,
The last one of her kind."
She died at 1 o’clock today,
Fragile, old and blind.
She died without a fanfare;
She wasn't lain in state.
Instead, they cured and stuffed her,
That was poor Martha's fate.
Her kind just helpless victims
Of mankind's savage lust...
"Martha, Passenger Pigeon."
Returns sadly to the dust.
"Martha. Born---- Died, 1982." RIP
When I went to live in Australia many years ago, I was shocked to be visited by a Kookaburra while fishing in a boat near Palm Beach. The cheeky kingfisher flew over, sat on my shoulder and begged for a fish! Which, due to his lethal looking beak, he soon received. Their mad cackle, like a rising and falling laugh from a Looney bin -"hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo, ha,ha,ha,ha - is heard everywhere. The birds are much loved in Oz and no one harms them at penalty of death (well, almost. I'd give £100 to hear one again).
The Kookaburra (Ozzie Kingfisher)
Two parts beak and twenty thief;
One part fisher and four parts cheek -
Some alien force?
Nah, mate, a Kookaburra of course!
In the South West of the USA at certain times of the year, the beach counties are visited by hordes of small, silvery fish called Grunion.
People head for the sea in San Diego with buckets, bowls and sacks to scoop up this harvest as the Grunion are very tasty.
A Silver Harvest.
The smoking skillet, a slice of onion,
Garlic, salt and then the Grunion.
What a banquet; what a feast!
The night the glorious Grunion run.
Sea alive with silv'ry splashings;
Breathless, barefoot, kiddies dashing.
A party night for everyone,
The night the glorious Grunion run.
Ben, the bulldog's barking madly;
Even grandpa's helping gladly.
All reap the generous harvest,
The night the glorious Grunion run.
But none must bow to mindless greed,
Just take enough to fill their need.
For blood lust is tinged with sadness...
The night the innocent Grunion run.
However hard man tries to eliminate Rats, he makes little impression on their numbers nor their ability to live in close proximity to man. Someone once said that in London, you are rarely more than 6 feet from a rat! (I think he meant the four legged kind!) Rats are clever, cunning and family oriented. They breed more successfully than rabbits and can eat just about anything man discards, from rotten food (although they prefer fresh) to soap and clothing and dead bodies!. They have been a curse through the ages causing outbreaks of plague via the fleas they carry. There can be little doubt they will outlast us on this planet.
“Curse us, trap us, poison us too,
Who says the world belongs to you?
We can play the waiting game,
Our patience won’t be in vain.”
“You trap our slow, our sick, our weak,
You’ll never reach the goal you seek.
Eliminate all the rats you say?
Ha! We grow stronger every day!”
“Creeping slyly through your basement;
Squeezing past that faulty casement.
Breeding twenty times each year...
You breed once? dear me, how drear!”
“The future will be ours, my friend,
A Ratty Style will be the trend!
We will steal your stately homes -
We rats can feel it in our bones!”
“Men in cages; our servants: cats,
THAT’S the dream of militant rats!
Or - dare I...Such outrageous thoughts -
Men...and cats...in gladiator sports!!”
Please comment if you like these as I can do some more pieces like this: a small description with some verse. Thanks...Bob
Verse from Charged Particles by Robert Challen de Mercer.