Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Secular poem

The garden in June is falling over
Itself in green, first flush of blooms deadheaded.
Vinca, leathered hand, the lily smothers.
Daisy flea bane riots among peonies spent.
Sphingid larvae frass honeysuckle leaves,
While gold ants slurp juices from a worm dead
On the brick path where sedums overflow.
Wasps hunt prey and drink flower whoopie
And along the border sweat bees work the lilies
For nectar, pollen sticking to hummers
Who flee my leisured steps like Disney pixies.
I walk along the garden's edge and stoop
To see another small and unexpected thing
In my late spring garden birthing summer.

Comment: this is kind of a sonnet though in free rhyme. The thought that started the poem is that there is so much to do in the garden what with all the rain we have here in Kansas. But really a lot the garden does for itself though we don't always like the results. The larva pictured is really feeding on honeysuckle and at first I didn't make the connection between the larvae and the adult moth shown here also photographed in my garden.


The word "frass" is usually a noun meaning debris and excrement left by insects. Normally I don't like the tendency to turn nouns into verbs but sometimes it works for me. The word is probably related to the German verb fressen-to feed. Animals fressen, people essen as I recall from my German. Of course my wife thinks I fressen way too often.

There is also a related word in terms of meaning-"orts" scraps of food left over from insect feeding. So in ecology and entomology we often talk about "frass and orts".
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