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Tomorrow will be 1st October and we’re well into autumn, a time when some insects collect on the sides of houses, while others, like spiders, find their way indoors. Many adult insects die off when frost arrives but leave eggs behind to start next year’s population; some migrate to warmer climates and others burrow in leaf litter or hide under loose bark for protection from the cold.

I’m fascinated with insects. We’ve had some large spiders in our house recently and I’ve noticed cobwebs appearing outside. Over the summer, I’ve watched dragonflies and butterflies, and shooed large moths, wasps and flies out of windows. I haven’t come across any large beetles this year, though, which was a disappointment.

There are quite a few poems about insects. I particularly like this one by John Clare:


These tiny loiterers on the barley’s beard,
And happy units of a numerous herd
Of playfellows, the laughing Summer brings,
Mocking the sunshine on their glittering wings,
How merrily they creep, and run, and fly!
No kin they bear to labour’s drudgery,
Smoothing the velvet of the pale hedge-rose;
And where they fly for dinner no one knows —
The dew-drops feed them not — they love the shine
Of noon, whose suns may bring them golden wine
All day they’re playing in their Sunday dress —
When night reposes, for they can do no less;
Then, to the heath-bell’s purple hood they fly,
And like to princes in their slumbers lie,
Secure from rain, and dropping dews, and all,
In silken beds and roomy painted hall.
So merrily they spend their summer-day,
Now in the corn-fields, now in the new-mown hay.
One almost fancies that such happy things,
With coloured hoods and richly burnished wings,
Are fairy folk, in splendid masquerade
Disguised, as if of mortal folk afraid,
Keeping their joyous pranks a mystery still,
Lest glaring day should do their secrets ill.

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And how could I forget John Donne’s flea?

The Flea

Mark but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is;
It sucked me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be;
Thou know’st that this cannot be said
A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead,
Yet this enjoys before it woo,
And pampered swells with one blood made of two,
And this, alas, is more than we would do.

For this week’s Haibun Monday, write about an encounter with an insect: it can be a beautiful or a scary experience, one that enlightened or surprised you; it can be about an ordinary or an unusual insect. Aim to write no more than three tight paragraphs about your encounter with an insect, followed by a traditional haiku that includes reference to the season.

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