I have been swarmed this summer, not just by Brood X, but by an invasion of cicada-themed poems. I have only myself to blame, of course, since I invited readers to send in their entomological poesy.
While every cicada looks pretty much like every other cicada, each cicada poem was unique. I read every single syllable of every single one, some out loud, declaiming in my best poetical voice.
There were so many fine poems that I decided to run my favorites over two days, and even so, there were plenty of good ones that I had to leave out simply because there wasn't room here in my humble corner of the Comics.
Perhaps I should print up a little cicada chapbook. (And that is probably the first and last time I'll ever use the word "chapbook" in my column.)
Though I naturally incline toward the lightly comic, I've tried to include a varied assortment of styles and tones. Some are sweet, others sad, some kind of thought-provoking.
Here are some of the runners-up. I'll have more, along with the grand-prize winner, tomorrow.
A cicada emerged in the spring
With his mind set on only one thing
After such a long wait
To at last procreate
It's enough to make anyone sing.
Iris Ann Hirsch and Marjorie Shriro Seidman,
A malcontent Democrat paid a
Young intern to fetch a cicada.
With nary a pause
He wrapped it in gauze,
And FedExed it off to Ralph Nada.
Mae Scanlan, Washington
A terrorist haunted by fears
Embarked upon several careers
Then joined al Qaeda
Was dubbed "The Cicada"
Stayed underground for seventeen years.
Howard Walderman, Columbia
after all the partying
grease-spot on the asphalt
Gaye Williams, Annapolis
Although they may be tasty on seeded buns
The ubiquitous cicadas just give my dog the runs.
Susan DiMaina, Annandale
Some folks in the buggy invasion
Think that they've got no cicada relation
But I'm seventeen
And I'm pretty keen
To meet some of my generation!
Riley Croghan, Washington
A song that suggests
Seventeen years of darkness
Didn't crush their souls
Whitney Jerome, Washington
A dead cicada
Soon is desiccated.
A dead cicada
Soon is decicadad.
Hank Wallace, Washington
I'm walking my dog, who's looking up at me like
Girrrrl, you so crazy! while I dip and duck,
Like I'm dancing to be-bop no one else can hear
To avoid the dreaded Cicada in my Hairdo
Which is really more of a Hairdon't.
Just then my dog gulps one out of the air
Crunches it up like bubble wrap in his mouth,
And I just look at him like Boyyy, you so crazy!
Sarah Zoe Wexler, Fairfax
They do taste like asparagus . . .
And they do have a tendency to die
In places beneath the strides of a city's slackened summer pace.
But I've never seen one complain or question his role.
One tiny insect,
In the middle of a vast swarm of mindless, buzzing, chittering inertia.
Hoping only to mate, and maybe find something to cling to afterwards.
Emerging in a pale and putrid stupor to realize they must repeat the whole affair.
I don't pity them, I feel the same way.
However, I've heard that we taste more like chicken.
Justin Donaldson, Bloomington, Indiana
You're upside down, you make me sick,
You're fluttering as if you're in pain.
But I kindly right you with a stick,
And you just roll over again.
Mathieu Jolicoeur, Washington
sometimes landing on the ground
but no matter.
hum and sing
while you're munching on a wing . . .
dinner and a concert.
Kathleen McLain, Washington