Thursday, October 6, 2011

Poetry Power

Decorah is witnessing one of the worst Box Elder Bug invasions in recent memory. When the soybean harvest gets rolling, these bugs, along with the Asian beetles, come to town and go to town.

I can stop counting at 30 from my turret workspace and have several on the walls, floor, and ceiling to spare. It's a disconcerting feeling, like being in an even lamer version of George McCowan's absurd 1972 film, Frogs. Tiny black and red things crawling all around me, catching my peripheral vision as I'm revising and submitting job market applications.

But just when compassion gets strained, I think of William Blake's poem and stay my hand from going Obama on these insects:

Little fly,
Thy summer's play
My thoughtless hand
Has brushed away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?

For I dance
And drink and sing,
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength and breath,
And the want
Of thought is death,

Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.

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