I saw one once
when I was a child
on top of a retaining wall
outside our country house
one summer day
It would have been easy to catch, I thought
but I didn't try to catch it
I just looked at it
a long while
a little frightened of it
and then called my father over
He told me what it was
the wondrous name
and told me never to harm one
because it was good luck
a sign of good fortune
It looked like a blade of grass
Was it, I wonder
a prayer of thanksgiving?
or of petition?
on that long ago summer day?
The cat sat on a mat.
A rat shat on the mat.
The scat begat a gnat.
The gnat bit at the rat.
The rat bit at the cat.
The cat bit at the rat.
That was that.
The snake spake at the wake.
A bird too offered a word.
A hare was there on a dare.
The fox swore a pox on the box.
A deer shed a tear out of fear.
The bees' knees bent in the breeze.
Was ever there a poem
written or recited
in say the last five thousand years or so
on or to
the cricket or the moth?
Am I wrong
or has the light vanished and the song?
Oh for those long lost nights outside on the porch
in the childhood of the world
and wonder of it all!
For simple beauty of line and resonance of soul,
the pure pitch and perfection of silence on the whole,
if not simply for sheer metaphysical delight,
nothing equals the song of crickets in the night.
The moth is but a little thing
of no account to man
it doesn't pull or lift or purr
or bark or dance or sing
And yet of all the things in life
of no account to Man
it doesn't bite
it doesn't sting
it seeks the light
it does the best it can
To the Humble Bee
When I was a child I was afraid of bees.
I feared a bee sting the way I feared the doctor's needle.
And I was even more afraid of wasps!
The mere sight of a wasp hanging about in the air nearby
chilled me to the quick.
And yet I have never in my life been stung by bee or wasp.
Meanwhile mosquitoes bit me all to hell.
Especially while I was asleep at night.
When I learned that bees die after stinging
I felt a certain sympathy for them.
I thought of them differently after that.
Gradually I lost my fear of them entirely.
Tesla and the Cockchafer
the desacralization of the world
time to give the sacrilege a face
the bugs will inherit the earth in any case
We caught them out on the front lawns
of a summer night
bounding down from the porch like yearling fawns
caught them in dreamy dilatory flight
closing cupped hands around the light
caught them out of the air
for all the fun of the fair
a band of chthonic sprites
discovering the rites of cosmic wonder
laughing with joy
girl and boy
and then falling into silent amaze
as in inward gaze
we waited for the thunder
Please see other poems in this volume, here: