Cicadas are peculiar bugs

Though born on leafy shoots

They crawl down to the underground

And suck upon tree roots.

For years they wriggle under dirt

Within their nymph asylum

And grow, if they escape the mole,

By simply sucking xylem.


They grow and molt and molt and grow

Until a future summer brings

A strange thing underneath their shells-

Two crumply, folded wings!

And even tiny bug brains know

No one can fly through dirt

And so they crawl towards daylight

Back up the bark to flirt.


Up in the trees, the nymphs cling tight

To the first twig they select;

A slot forms in each carapace and -

Out pops a winged, jade-green insect.

On branch of pine they perch unseen

Where boy-bugs play their tambourines

Hoping to attract the flying queens

For only pairs can pass on genes.


I hear their din and shake my head,

Is the chorus insects, or tinnitus?

They have not loved for two long years

But each bug knows what tonight is!


James Hargrove

August 28, 2018