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,

Columbia

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

Magicicada,

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.

Or:

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 piles,

In pieces,

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

dinner

flies around

sometimes landing on the ground

but no matter.

little delicacies

hum and sing

while you're munching on a wing . . .

dinner and a concert.

Kathleen McLain, Washington