The Beetle – a Poem for Two People

Ah, the little beetles and flying insects that drift around us in the summer and occasionally land on us. For some people that’s not a problem, a gentle brush off is all that is required. For others, it becomes a major life event.

(And apologies for the ‘boldness’ of one of the speakers – I don’t have the time to wrestle the wordpress blockquote out of its default italics: also, there are no tabs. Grr.)

The Beetle – a Poem for Two People

I’ve got a beetle up my arm.

It isn’t doing any harm.

That’s what you say, but you don’t know
how fast these little beetles go,
or where they run, or what they eat
or that their little beetle feet
when magnified are horrid claws.
Scaled up they’re like a lion’s paws.
And that’s what’s loose inside my shirt.
Those massive claws are bound to hurt.

Hold still, I’ll try to get it out.

Hold still?!

                  It doesn’t help to shout.

I’m saying nothing of the jaws;
the teeth are much worse than the claws.
And mandibles, he’s got those too,
enormous pincers set to chew
a great gash through my lovely skin
then burrow down and deeper in
to suck my blood and gnaw my brain.
Don’t laugh, I think I feel the pain.
And that’s what’s loose inside my shirt.
Get on with it, it’s going to hurt.

It’s just a beetle, nothing more.
Oh please! Stop rolling on the floor.

It’s coming for me, I can tell,
please tell the family I died well.

Hold still. And yes, I’ve got the beast.

Ah, just before it had its feast.
How big is it, this brutal thing?
Ten centimetres, wing to wing?

Ten millimetres.

                               They’re the worst.

A good job that I got there first.

You saved my life.

                                I know, I know.

Now, where’s the beast?

                                          I let it go.

You set the evil monster loose?

A tiny beetle. What’s the use?
I think that you should go inside,
away from nature, go on, hide.

© Huw Evans 2019

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The Cliffs of Machu Pichu

I have never been to the Inca citadel of Machu Pichu, and very likely never will, but, by the power of  imagination, I have realised this inconsequential poem about the wild life of the area, rather than focusing on the ‘heaps of rubble’ some of those dear to me would see.

And my apologies to those who might have been wanting to learn about this very important Inca site.

The Cliffs of Machu Pichu

The cliffs of Machu Pichu
are home to many fowl:
the eagle and the robin,
the condor and the owl.

The eagle nests the highest
on vaunting spires of stone.
It builds its nest from yoghurt,
balloons and bits of bone.

The robin’s nest is lowest,
it’s very scared of heights.
It won’t go out at night time
for fear of sudden frights.

The condor lives on ledges
precarious and thin,
it only gets to nesting
when breeding times begin.

The owl squats in the hollows
that form in rotten trees
and that is where it picked up
a feathery disease.

The eagle sees the robin
and dives to have a snack,
but then the condor stops it
by giving it a smack.

The eagle gets all huffy
and sulks upon its nest,
which gives the frightened robin
a chance to have a rest.

The owl ignores the robin
and thinks that it’s absurd
for all that gorgeous plumage
to cover one small bird.

The robin loves the condor
and finds it little treats,
like buns left by the tourists,
all packed with tangy meats.

The owl resents the condor;
the way that it can glide
for hours and hours on thermals
its wings spread out so wide.

The condor isn’t bothered
by all the owl’s disdain,
it spins above the ruins
come sunshine or come rain.

The owl puffs up the eagle
with flattery and lies
so gets to eat the tidbits
that tumble from the skies.

The cliffs of Machu Pichu
are home to many fowl:
the eagle and the robin,
the condor and the owl.

© Huw Evans 2019

The Misfortunes of Otters

Recently someone tweeted a definition they had seen for the German word schadenfreude which contained a slight but wonderful misprint. The word was mangled to mean ‘laughing at the misfortunes of otters’. To think a language might have a whole word dedicated to such a rare phenomenon. (Of course, German doesn’t, the original definition should have read ’others’). That set me thinking.

And to the person who spotted and tweeted the misprint, thank you. This poem is dedicated to you.

The Misfortunes of Otters

Misfortune comes to creatures large and small –
provoking both the elephant and vole,
but otters are most sensitive of all:

a hint of mocking in a magpie’s call
will drive the creature blushing to its hole.
Misfortune comes to creatures large and small,

yet the ocelot that fluffs its mating call
will shrug and throw itself back in the rôle.
But otters are most sensitive of all,

they’ll curl into a furry, quivering ball,
tormented by a misjudged forward roll.
Misfortune comes to creatures large and small,

the shark that spots a sailor’s leg to maul
then misses it, just spins back to its goal.
But otters are most sensitive of all,

don’t tease one if you see it take a fall,
please think of what is happening in its soul.
Misfortune comes to creatures large and small,
but otters are most sensitive of all.

© Huw Evans 2019

The Crab of Thought

Have you ever found your thoughts have some how slipped sideways from that really important topic you should be working on, to some frivolous or irrelevant thing? I have, often. It has taken me a while to work out what is going on, but here’s the answer.

The Crab of Thought

You’ll find me lurking in your mind,
I am the crab of thought.
I’ll make you think of what you want
And not of what you ought.

Your mind is busy on the maths
that you are being taught,
when suddenly, instead of sums
your head is full of sport.

That little drift? No need for thanks.
I am the crab of thought.

In history the teacher asks
‘When was that battle fought?’
But looking at your finger,
is that freckle now a wart?

The little side-steps in your brain?
I am the crab of thought.

It’s time for lunch, a salad, yes,
the nutty, beany sort.
You leave the till, but, oh, what’s this?
It’s chocolate that you’ve bought.

Another sideways nudge from me.
I am the crab of thought.

Don’t think that you’ll get rid of me,
I am the crab of thought.
I’ll make you think of what you want
And not of what you ought.

The Yorkshire Terrier

Have you ever hated a dog?

Generally, dogs and I get on fine. But a few years ago there was a Yorkshire Terrier that tormented me. There was a street I had to walk down every day, and every day this wretched little dog would rush out of its garden, yapping and howling, always circling to get a bite at my heels. Being a right-thinking person, and constrained by civilisation, I tried not to kick it while dodging it.

But in my head it was quite a different story.

The Yorkshire Terrier

The pavement’s peaceful. No it’s not.
He’s burst out from his skulking spot.
He yaps and howls. He turns and wheels.
I know his target is my heels.

He got me once with needle teeth,
right through my socks, broke skin beneath.
So now I always dodge and hop.
Undignified. This has to stop.

I stoop and scoop the yapping runt,
draw back my foot and then I punt
the snarling scrap high over head.
It lands far off, it might be dead.

But that’s a dream. The morning comes.
He’s lurking with his slobbery gums.

The Narwhal and the Unicorn

image

The narwhal and the unicorn,
are clearly cousins, distant-born,
as each one has a single horn.

The narwhal swims in arctic seas,
beneath the bergs and floes that freeze.
The unicorn likes magic trees,

elves, pixies and enchanted rings,
but dislikes trolls and evil things.
He loves princesses, can’t stand kings.

The unicorn is very proud
of his great lance; he sings aloud
to draw a big, admiring crowd.

He lets girls plait his glossy mane
but hides in hollows from the rain
(a few folk might think he is vain).

The narwhals’s horn grows from its jaw –
a tooth a metre long or more –
but no-one’s quite sure what it’s for.

We know the horn is packed with nerves
so as the narwhal glides and curves
does it sense prey that slinks and swerves?

The narwhal has no teeth to chew
so filters squid and water through
its jaws to make an icy stew.

I don’t know what the other eats.
A bit of grass, white chocolate treats,
or maybe green, enchanted sweets?



This poem isn’t going well.
I’d hoped these one-horned beasts would gel,
but I can’t seem to cast the spell.

I owe you an apology:
the unicorn’s mythology,
the narwhal is zoology.

My interfering has to end.
It’s not my job to twist and bend
these two; they neither need a friend.

© Huw Evans 2019

If you feel the need for more serious poetry then have a look at Minor Monuments, available from this site.