|Photo: Yamanaka Tamaki|
The first time I discovered one of these I was pretty freaked out.
I was told it was a locust shell, but now I find out that's not true. Locusts look more like grasshoppers. This is a cicada exoskeleton. (You can watch a time lapse video of the molting process here.)
It also happens to be the inspiration for my contribution to Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's DMC challenge this month. Amy asked us to write poems about small things— animals or objects you see everyday and don't give much thought.
|Photo by Leslie|
I've always liked cicada song. It's the unforgettable soundtrack of summer. But I've never really given cicadas themselves much thought. Taking the time to do some research, I learned a few interesting tidbits.
Did you know...
- There are about 3000 known species of cicada. Some appear every year, but "periodical cicadas" show up en masse only every 13 or 17 years. A group of cicadas is called a cloud or plague.
- The "hum" of the cicada is made by vibrating tymbals on the male's abdomen. Some species can be heard up to a mile away.
- If you're using power tools or lawn equipment, cicadas may mistake the tool's "song" for their own and land on you.
- Wild animals, domestic pets, and people all eat cicadas. Good thing there are enough of them to go around. (And feel free to have my share.)
In my poem I explore their romantic, rather than their anatomical or culinary, characteristics.
In the sizzle of summer
a cicada emerges
from seventeen years
Patience worn thin,
he unzips his skin
wriggles and stretches
and clickity buzzes
to capture the heart
of a pretty young thing
gossiping in the treetops.
Patience worn thin,
the seduction begins
he sets the summer on fire.
© 2016 Michelle Heidenrich Barnes. All rights reserved.
Send your poem about a small thing to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com, or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right. All contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration next Friday, March 25th, and one lucky participant will win a personalized copy of Amy's delightful nonfiction picture book:
Damon Dean, Kathy Mazurowski, Michelle Kogan, Maria Marshall, Catherine Flynn, Margaret Simon, and Carol Varsalona. Cbhanek is featuring her small poem today.
Life on the Deckle Edge.