Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Filling the Well: Percy Bysshe Shelley, Bashō, and Sir David Attenborough

Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world,
and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar.

– Percy Bysshe Shelley
shell of a cicada
it sang itself
utterly away
– Matsuo Bashō

"Amazing Cicada Life Cycle"
Sir David Attenborough's Life in the Undergrowth (BBC)

There's going to be a bumper crop (i.e., billions) of Brood X cicadas emerging in the next few weeks. Read my "Love Song" to the humble cicada HERE.

April 1: John Muir
April 4: Cesare Pavese 
April 11: Elinor Wylie
April 18: John Milton 
April 27: Percy Bysshe Shelley, Bashō, and Sir David Attenborough


  1. I remember this haiku every time I pick a cicada shell off the wall. Bashõ is a true artist.

  2. I found the first "June" bug today (they usually show up in May here), so I'm pretty sure Brood X will be coming out soon. We got up into the 80s today, and the ground temperature needs to be 64 degrees. 17 years ago, we were at sleepover camp with our 4th graders and the fishing was AMAZING. Put a cicada on your hook and you were guaranteed a fish. Fun times.

    1. What great memories, Mary Lee! I've heard that Brood X cicadas are plentiful, but also pretty clumsy when it comes to falling out of trees! Easy pickins even without the fish hook. LOL.

  3. I wonder if we will be able to hear the birds over the cicadas?
    Your NPM project has turned out so wonderfully! I hope you are pleased with it :-)

    1. Good question! Make sure to let me know— we're not supposed to get Brood X in Florida. But judging by Sir David's expression when one was singing in his ear, I doubt it!

  4. I'm happy to be dodging the Brood X phenomenon as well, Michelle. The stuff of nightmares IMHO. ;)

  5. "shell of a cicada"
    is one of my all-time favorite haiku. I've read other translations, but this one by R. H. Blyth is outstanding. Thanks for featuring it!