Mantis Kung Fu [Common Meter]

A mantis landed on the rail,
and it put up its dukes
as one might expect of madmen
or drunken Irish kooks.

Why would one seek out a fair fight
with someone much bigger,
I shook my head and started to
engage in a snigger.

But then it did occur to me
that he couldn't stand elsewise.
So, I tried to gauge his intent,
and looked him in the eyes...

and he stomped me in my nether bits -
much to my surprise.

A Thousand Feet & a Foot-Long [Common Meter]

The millipede was a foot long,
but, some might ask, whose foot?
Its own feet being quite petite
might suggest Lilliput.

But though it wasn't a footlong foot,
it was long for a bug,
a worm, a beetle, a wood mouse,
a spider, or a slug.

A snake that long would be a babe,
or, at least, quite stunted.
So, now I find my amazement
being a bit blunted. 

DAILY PHOTO: Morpho Menelaus & a Pale Owl-Butterfly

Morpho Menelaus; Taken at Callaway Gardens in November of 2012
Pale Owl-Butterfly; Callaway Gardens, November 2012

Butterfly Paralysis [Haibun]

Struggling to wiggle its wings, the butterfly warms in the morning sun. Is it like sleep paralysis - that hypnopompic impulse to flee that's stymied by stuck muscles? What's a wind gust or rapidly advancing shadow like for the butterfly? Normally, such occurrences would provoke an erratic fluttering away. But now the screaming instinct to wing away can't be answered. Does the butterfly know dread, or does it just quietly await the moment it's unfrozen?


cool morning -
a butterfly twitches,
but can't yet fly 

DAILY PHOTO: Butterfly & Blossoms

Taken at Reynolds Nature Preserve in July of 2012

Dead Leaf Mantis [Haibun]

This mantis pulls off the dead leaf look. Its abdomen mimics a leaf - desiccated and rolled up upon itself. A barber-sign slant spiral of veins add the perfect touch. Even once one notices the six thin legs, legs invisible to all but a piercing, hunched-over stare, there remains a period during which it is more acceptable to the mind to think of it as twiggy leaves than as an insect. Amid a litter of dead leaves, I'm sure my eyes would never land on this skinny bug, but even on a rocky outcrop that's perpetually swept bare by way of the breezes that whip and wrap around the mountain, it still seems more leaf than bug. 

a dead leaf mantis,
standing in an unlikely place,
yet my mind screams, "Leaf!"

POEM: The Dangers of Going too Deep

I watched a bee —
a rotund & buzzy carpenter bee
scoot its way into the deep cup
of a cornflower blue sky vine blossom,
nestling itself within.

When it had penetrated to maximum depth —
only the hind tip of abdomen protruding —
the blossom fell away,
plummeting leisurely — as light things do,
in a lazy spiral toward the earth.

And as the blossom and its captive bee
passed out of sight below my window,
I could only wonder about the bee’s fate.

It did not zoom up past my window
at the last possible second
with a pronounced doppler shift
in the manner of stalled aircraft
pulling out of a dive in a Hollywood movie,
but that doesn’t mean the bee didn’t escape

If it didn’t escape,
what would that crash be like?

A light-weight creature trapped in the soft folds
of flower petals, with a combined lightness
such that air-resistance cannot be ignored
the way one does in Physics problems involving bowling balls.

What would that crash be like?