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"Two Bugs Outside My Window," lyric with interactive poetic responses

Updated on June 1, 2015

Workshop for writers and teachers

Workshop: Retrospective comment on the birth and continuing fruition of a two-way muse relationship
(written from Ashe County, North Carolina,
Saturday, September 21, 2013)

1. Almost two years after I wrote this short poem "Two Bugs Outside My Window" and published it on HubPages in July of 2011, it became one of my first, if not the first, productive poetic contact between myself and ocfireflies, who turned out to be Kim Houck of North Carolina.

2. As the nickname "ocfireflies" implies, Kim has a thing about the many fireflies that seasonally invade the area of her mountain residence, all of which she amply explains elsewhere on HubPages in her own words.

3. So my little verse about "two bugs" caught her eye and caused her to respond.

4. Below the poem itself, you can scroll down (later!) to find our interactive responses on HubPages during May 2011 that helped launch what has turned out since to be a highly productive literary relationship between Kim and me, from which perhaps a thousand lines of poetry and prose have resulted in the past four months.

5. In fact (you can believe it or not!), I write this retrospective observation today looking out the window of the beautiful guest room Kim and her family generously provided me during an all-too-short visit to her home in the beautiful, still-green mountains of Ashe County in northwestern North Carolina.

6. The scene outside my home-office window in Chicago's western suburbs, it ain't!

7. On Monday (Sept. 16, 2013) during an unplanned stop at the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce in West Jefferson, the Visitor Center Coordinator Kathleen George personally handed me a large, colorful, 6-page brochure that announced my good fortune visiting Kim just in time for the week-long Ashe County Literary Festival called "On the Same Page, a Celebration of Reading."

8. So on Wednesday morning (Sept. 18) Kim and I were privileged to drive the few miles over to the Ashe County Public Library in West Jefferson to attend a major special program of the festival.

9. At 11 a.m., Joseph Bathanti, the Poet Laureate of North Carolina, read and commented on selections from his poetry and novels, which followed a beautiful one-hour documentary film about him at 9:30 a.m. that interspersed a graphic biographical account of his life story with citations from his work written along the way, as well as instructive comments by various other literati.

10. I learned much from Mr. Bathanti Wednesday morning about my own life -- past, present, and future. It pays to listen carefully to what thoughtful experienced people have to say.

11. Mr. Bathanti generously autographed the copy I purchased of his work Sonnets of the Cross (Jacar Press, number 80 of an edition limited to 200 copies), in which he uses fourteen sonnets alluding to stations in the New Testament passion narratives to comment eleganty, perceptively, provocatively on scathingly honest memories from his own past life.

12. Several more forays into the area to visit Kim's parents and other sites underlined West Jefferson as the most pleasant and peaceful small town I've seen since I moved out of Lexington, Massachussetts in 1979. And Kathleen George of the Chamber of Commerce did not pay me to say that!

13. But now, as I smell the roast beef Kim is cooking in the kitchen for the family supper before we go visit the ice cream parlor in West Jefferson where her son Joseph will perform with a group of his fellow musicians, I must bring these reveries to an end for now.

14. Here now is the original poem that started all this; I hope you enjoy it.

Two Bugs Outside
My Window

I normally don't like

to see spring bugs

outside my window,

but when I saw two green

ones with long legs,

together, mating,

and I suspected them

in love, perhaps,

or maybe courting,

I didn't see it as

my business to

right then disturb them;

they stayed together longer than

some human couples I have seen

outside my window.

Max Havlick
Villa Park, Illinois, July 9, 2011

15. Just in case anyone might miss both the human and literary points of using a workshop for writers and teachers to give this rambling account of how a simple poem allowed the birth and fruition of a two-way muse relationship, I offer this American sonnet just now written for the occasion.

Two Bugs along the Way to Xanadu

An American Sonnet

The smallest honest observations you make everyday

identified, expressed in writing as you go your way,

no matter how much time it takes to see concrete results,

might lead to precious new enhancements of your life someday,

not only in the thousand lines of work it catapults,

or in the gradual improvement in its qua-li-ty,

but sometimes un-ex-pec-ted-ly but more im-por-tant-ly

in finding and enjoying sweet new-friend fri-vo-li-ty,

in noticing green mountain views and smells of roast beef dinners,

and rich authentic local music sung most in-no-cent-ly,

surrounded by new insights into what your own life might be,

perhaps a shorter path to shine as one of life's new winners.

We seldom can predict the shortest path to Xanadu,

but in our hearts resides the surest path for me and you.

Max Havlick
Saturday afternoon, Sept. 21, 2013


Copyright (c) 2013 by The Max Havlick School, 16 W. Vermont St., Villa Park, Illinois 60181-1938, all rights reserved. We value each person's life as a priceless work of art.


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    • Max Havlick profile image

      Max Havlick 4 years ago from Villa Park, Illinois

      Jhamann, thank you, first, just for taking the time to read these things, but then, second, for your perceptive comment that shows such deep knowledge of the modern history of English literature, but also, thirdly, for what I take as a kind and generous assessment of the work that Kim and I have been so privileged to find within ourselves and within our highly unlikely poetic friendshp.

      Best wishes to you and your family,

      Max, 9 p.m. Eastern time, Monday, September 23, 2013, from Fleetwood, Ashe County, North Carolina

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 4 years ago from Reno NV

      This reminds me of the relationship between Robert and Elizabeth. Two poets that have made a place in history. Jamie

    • Max Havlick profile image

      Max Havlick 4 years ago from Villa Park, Illinois

      Neophytes, I hear, make sometimes serious but always entertaining friends!


    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Dear Max,

      Thou art the Muse

      and I a


      To inspire is the goal

      To send one on a quest

      To know my scribblings

      served you some way

      Sheds light in my darkness

      sunshine in my day

      ocfireflies aka Kim

    • Max Havlick profile image

      Max Havlick 4 years ago from Villa Park, Illinois


      Dear O-C fire-flies circling near me on resplendent wing,

      thanks for responding, which counts more with me than anything.

      Later, much deeper into that dark night, right after meeting you,

      I did peruse your Mason Jar, and found your poem too,

      your lightening bug a relative so relevant to my two bugs cavorting,

      though I could not find proper words right then for my reporting.

      An hour later, Muse, you helped me write some serious poetry

      responding to a Warrior Woman's work "Reach Out To Me,"

      where she exulted she could play with men then gladly let them drop.

      So on behalf of stronger males and females who can stop

      pretending Life is only fit for children's endless games

      inside a world in desperate need of love without destructive flames,

      I wrote to her "Reach Out To Me; I Fear Thee Not!"

      defending honest Friendship as the safest cure for blight and rot.


      Copyright May 6, 2013 by Max Havlick, Villa Park, Illinois 60181-1938, all rights reserved on behalf of both the author and OCfireflies (Kim from North Carolina) the person for whom this sonnet was this day originally written and posted on HubPages.

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 4 years ago from North Carolina


      If you so desire to return to my page, maybe check out the poem "inside the mason jar." The short poem is told from the point of view of the lightening bug.


    • Max Havlick profile image

      Max Havlick 4 years ago from Villa Park, Illinois

      Hi oc fireflies, aka Kim, thank you for your recognition and response. Obviously the world has not yet noticed this poem! You're the first, so automatically you become special to me. I thought it was great (Ogden Nash great, obviously not Shakespeare great) when I wrote it, but what do I know? Authors make poor critics of their own work. Meanwhile, I think I'll take a look at your work and see what I think. Best wishes.

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 4 years ago from North Carolina

      love this whimsical poem