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Insect Poems

Table of Contents

Poems About Insects

  1. Insects by John Clare
  2. To an Insect by Oliver Wendell Holmes
  3. A little road not made of man by Emily Dickinson
  4. Doctor Tumble-Bug by John B. Tabb

Fly

  1. The Fly's Revenge by Hannah Flagg Gould
  2. Baby Bye by Anonymous
  3. Dying by Emily Dickinson
  4. The Fly in the Grass by Hannah Flagg Gould
  5. The Fly by Walter De la Mare
  6. The Fly by Theodore Tilton

Moth

  1. A Twilight Moth by Madison Cawein
  2. Beetle and Moth by Madison Cawein

Snail

  1. The Snail's Pace by Amos Russel Wells
  2. The Snail by William Cowper

Cicada

  1. The Cicada in the Firs by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

Poems About Insects

  1. Insects

    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.

  2. To an Insect

    by Oliver Wendell Holmes

    I love to hear thine earnest voice,
    Wherever thou art hid,
    Thou testy little dogmatist,
    Thou pretty Katydid!
    Thou mindest me of gentlefolks,—
    Old gentlefolks are they,—
    Thou say'st an undisputed thing
    In such a solemn way.

    Thou art a female, Katydid!
    I know it by the trill
    That quivers through thy piercing notes,
    So petulant and shrill;
    I think there is a knot of you
    Beneath the hollow tree,—
    A knot of spinster Katydids,—
    Do Katydids drink tea?

    Oh, tell me where did Katy live,
    And what did Katy do?
    And was she very fair and young,
    And yet so wicked, too?
    Did Katy love a naughty man,
    Or kiss more cheeks than one?
    I warrant Katy did no more
    Than many a Kate has done.

    Dear me! I'll tell you all about
    My fuss with little Jane,
    And Ann, with whom I used to walk
    So often down the lane,
    And all that tore their locks of black,
    Or wet their eyes of blue,—
    Pray tell me, sweetest Katydid,
    What did poor Katy do?

    Ah no! the living oak shall crash,
    That stood for ages still,
    The rock shall rend its mossy base
    And thunder down the hill,
    Before the little Katydid
    Shall add one word, to tell
    The mystic story of the maid
    Whose name she knows so well.

    Peace to the ever-murmuring race!
    And when the latest one
    Shall fold in death her feeble wings
    Beneath the autumn sun,
    Then shall she raise her fainting voice,
    And lift her drooping lid,
    And then the child of future years
    Shall hear what Katy did.

  3. A little road not made of man

    by Emily Dickinson

    A little road not made of man,
    Enabled of the eye,
    Accessible to thill of bee,
    Or cart of butterfly.

    If town it have, beyond itself,
    'T is that I cannot say;
    I only sigh, — no vehicle
    Bears me along that way.

  4. Doctor Tumble-Bug

    by John B. Tabb

    With wondrous skill
    He works until,
    To suit himself, he makes it
    A patent Pill,
    To cure or kill
    The sufferer that takes it.

  5. Fly

  6. The Fly's Revenge

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    "So," said a fly, as he paused and thought
    How he had just been brushed about,
    "They think, no doubt, I am next to nought—
    Put into life but to be put out!

    "Just as if, when our Maker planned
    His mighty scheme, He had quite forgot
    To grant the work of his skilful hand,
    The peaceful fly, an abiding spot!

    "They grudge me even a breath of air,
    A speck of earth and a ray of sun!
    This is more than a fly can bear;
    Now I'll pay them for what they've done!"

    First he lit on the idle thumb
    Of a poet; and "now for your thoughts!" said he,
    "Wherever they soar, I'll make them come
    Down, from their towering flight, to me!"

    He went and tickled the nasal tip
    Of a scholar, and over his eye-brow stung,
    Till he raised his hand, and his brain let slip
    A chain of gems, that had just been strung.

    Off to a crowded church he flew,
    And over the faces boldly stepped;
    Pointing out to the pastor's view,
    How many sheep in the pasture slept.

    He buzzed about at a lady's ear,
    Just as a youth, with piteous sigh,
    Popped the question she would not hear,
    And only answered, "a saucy fly!"

    He washed his feet in the worthless tear
    A belle at the theatre chanced to weep;
    "Rouge in the bath!" he cried, "my dear,
    Your cheek has a blush that is not skin deep!"

    On the astronomer's pointed glass
    He leisurely stood and stretched his wing;
    For here, he knew, he was sure to pass
    For quite a great and important thing.

    "Now is the time," said he, "my man,
    To measure the fly from head to heel!
    Number the miles, and, if you can,
    Name the planets that I conceal.

    "What do you call the twinkling star
    Over the spot where you see me tread;
    And the beautiful cluster of lights afar,
    Ranged in the heavens above my head?

    "Ah! it is station that swells us all,
    At once, to a size that were else unknown!
    And now, if ever I hear you call
    My race an order beneath your own,

    "I'll tell the world of this comic scene;
    And how will they laugh to hear that I,
    Small as you think me, can stand between
    You and your views of the spacious sky!"

  7. Baby Bye

    by Anonymous

    Baby Bye,
    Here's a fly;
    We will watch him, you and I.
    How he crawls
    Up the walls,
    Yet he never falls!
    I believe with six such legs
    You and I could walk on eggs.
    There he goes
    On his toes,
    Tickling Baby's nose.

    Spots of red
    Dot his head;
    Rainbows on his back are spread;
    That small speck
    Is his neck;
    See him nod and beck!
    I can show you, if you choose,
    Where to look to find his shoes,
    Three small pairs,
    Made of hairs;
    These he always wears.

    Flies can see
    More than we;
    So how bright their eyes must be!
    Little fly,
    Ope your eye;
    Spiders are near by.
    For a secret I can tell,
    Spiders never use flies well;
    Then away,
    Do not stay.
    Little fly, good day.

  8. Dying

    by Emily Dickinson

    I heard a fly buzz when I died;
    The stillness round my form
    Was like the stillness in the air
    Between the heaves of storm.

    The eyes beside had wrung them dry,
    And breaths were gathering sure
    For that last onset, when the king
    Be witnessed in his power.

    I willed my keepsakes, signed away
    What portion of me I
    Could make assignable, — and then
    There interposed a fly,

    With blue, uncertain, stumbling buzz,
    Between the light and me;
    And then the windows failed, and then
    I could not see to see.

  9. The Fly in the Glass

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    Ah! thou lost, unwary thing,
    Flutt'ring with a tortured wing—
    Crying, with thy little feet
    Scorch'd amid surrounding heat!
    Poor, unhappy, suffering fly,
    What a painful death to die!

    Since, so rashly thou hast strayed
    'Twixt the funnel and the shade,
    In the fiery prison lost,
    Now thy life must pay the cost
    Of venturing too near the glare,
    Dazzling to allure thee there!

    Oh! it fills my heart with pain,
    Thus to see thee strive in vain
    For escape; for I, alas!
    Am too small to lift the glass.
    Mother says I must not take
    Things my little hands might break.

    Here she comes! but 't is too late!
    Thou, poor thing, hast met thy fate.
    Motion ceases—life has fled—
    Dropping on the table, dead,
    Now I see thee, thoughtless fly!
    'T was a foolish death to die.

    'Yes, my child, in careless play,
    Thus his life is thrown away.
    For a thing that pleased the eye
    He rushed onward but to die!
    Yet, remember, there was none
    Warning him the blaze to shun.

    'If thou think'st the untaught flies,
    For their errors, so unwise,
    Let this insect's fall be hence
    From temptation thy defence!
    On thy heart a picture stamp
    Of the fly about the lamp!'

  10. The Fly

    by Walter De la Mare

    How large unto the tiny fly
    Must little things appear!—
    A rosebud like a feather bed,
    Its prickle like a spear;

    A dewdrop like a looking-glass,
    A hair like golden wire;
    The smallest grain of mustard-seed
    As fierce as coals of fire;

    A loaf of bread, a lofty hill;
    A wasp, a cruel leopard;
    And specks of salt as bright to see
    As lambkins to a shepherd.

  11. The Fly

    by Theodore Tilton

    Baby bye,
    Here’s a fly;
    Let us watch him, you and I
    How he crawls
    Up the walls!
    Yet he never falls.
    I believe, with six such legs,
    You and I could walk on eggs!
    There he goes
    On his toes,
    Tickling baby’s nose!

    Spots of red
    Dot his head,
    Rainbows on his back are spread!
    That small speck
    Is his neck:
    See him nod and beck.
    I can show you, if you choose,
    Where to look to find his shoes—
    Three small pairs
    Made of hairs;
    These he always wears!

    Black and brown
    Is his gown;
    He can wear it upside down.
    It is laced
    Round his waist:
    I admire his taste.
    Yet, though tight his clothes are made,
    He will lose them, I’m afraid,
    If to-night
    He gets a sight
    Of the candle-light.

    In the sun
    Webs are spun:
    What if he gets into one?
    When it rains,
    He complains
    On the window-panes.
    Tongues to talk have you and I;
    God has given the little fly
    No such things;
    So he sings
    With his buzzing wings.

    He can eat
    Bread and meat:
    There’s a mouth between his feet!
    On his back
    Is a sack
    Like a peddler’s pack.
    Does the baby understand?
    Then the fly shall kiss her hand!
    Put a crumb
    On her thumb;
    Maybe he will come.

    Catch him? No!
    Let him go;
    Never hurt an insect so.
    But, no doubt,
    He flies out
    Just to gad about.
    Now you see his wings of silk
    Drabbled in the baby’s milk.
    Fie! oh fie!
    Foolish fly!
    How will he get dry?

    All wet flies
    Twist their thighs;
    Then they wipe their heads and eyes.
    Cats, you know,
    Wash just so;
    Then their whiskers grow.
    Flies have hair too short to comb;
    So they fly bareheaded home;
    But the gnat
    Wears a hat;
    Do you believe that?

    Flies can see
    More than we;
    So, how bright their eyes must be!
    Little fly,
    Ope your eye;
    Spiders are near by!
    For a secret I can tell:
    Spiders never treat flies well!
    Then away!
    Do not stay;
    Little fly, good-day!

  12. Moth

  13. A Twilight Moth

    by Madison Cawein

    All day the primroses have thought of thee,
    Their golden heads close-haremed from the heat;
    All day the mystic moonflowers silkenly
    Veiled snowy faces,—that no bee might greet
    Or butterfly that, weighed with pollen, passed;—
    Keeping Sultana-charms for thee, at last,
    Their lord, who comest to salute each sweet.

    Cool-throated flowers that avoid the day's
    Too fervid kisses; every bud that drinks
    The tipsy dew and to the starlight plays
    Nocturns of fragrance, thy wing'd shadow links
    In bonds of secret brotherhood and faith;
    O bearer of their order's shibboleth,
    Like some pale symbol fluttering o'er these pinks.

    What dost thou whisper in the balsam's ear
    That sets it blushing, or the hollyhock's,—
    A syllabled silence that no man may hear,—
    As dreamily upon its stem it rocks?
    What spell dost bear from listening plant to plant,
    Like some white witch, some ghostly ministrant,
    Some spectre of some perished flower of phlox?

    O voyager of that universe which lies
    Between the four walls of this garden fair,—
    Whose constellations are the fireflies
    That wheel their instant courses everywhere'—
    'Mid fairy firmaments wherein one sees
    Mimic Boötes and the Pleiades,
    Thou steerest like some fairy ship-of-air.

    Gnome-wrought of moonbeam fluff and gossamer,
    Silent as scent, perhaps thou chariotest
    Mab or King Oberon; or, haply, her
    His queen, Titania, on some midnight quest.—
    Oh for the herb, the magic euphrasy,
    That should unmask thee to mine eyes, ah me!
    And all that world at which my soul hath guessed!

  14. Beetle and Moth

    by Madison Cawein

    I
    There's a bug at night that goes
    Drowsily down the garden ways;
    Lumberingly above the rose,
    And above the jasmine sprays;
    Bumping, bungling, buzzing by,
    Falling finally, to crawl
    Underneath the rose and lie
    Near its fairest bud. That's all.
    And I ask my father why
    This old bug goes by that way:
    This is what he has to say: —

    "That's old Parson Beetle, sonny;
    He's in love with some rich flower;
    After her and all her honey —
    And he'll have them in an hour.
    He is awkward, but, I say,
    With the flowers he has a way;
    And, I tell you, he's a power;
    Never fails to get his flower:
    He's a great old Beetle, sonny."

    II
    Then again, when it is wet,
    And we sit around the lamp,
    On the screen, near which it's set,
    Comes a fluttering, dim and damp,
    Of white, woolly wings; and I
    Go to see what's there and find
    Something like a butterfly,
    Beating at the window-blind.
    And I ask my father why
    This strange creature does that way:
    This is what he has to say: —

    "Lady Moth that; she's the fashion:
    Fall's in love with all bright things:
    She has a consuming passion
    For this light: will singe her wings.
    Once it was a star, you know, —
    That she loved. — I told you so!
    Take her up. What lovely rings
    On her scorched and dainty wings! —
    It's a pity, but the fashion."

  15. Snail

  16. The Snail's Pace

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Said the Snake to the Snail: "How absurdly you crawl!
    I scarcely can see you are moving at all."
    Said the Hen to the Snake. "With no leg and no wing.
    No wonder you travel so slowly, poor thing!"
    Said the Fox to the Hen, "You have wings, that is true;
    But what are your wings when I get after you?"
    Said the Wren to the Fox: "Don't you think you are spry!
    But what are your legs to a bird that can fly?"
    Said the Hawk to the Wren, "In my masterful flight
    Your fluttering pace is a leisurely sight!"
    Said the Snail to them all: "This big world is my steed,
    And I travel upon it as fast as I need—
    Yes, dally upon it, in spite of your smiles,
    No less than three-fourths of a million miles.
    You think you excel in your hurrying race:
    Can any one beat me in traversing space?"

  17. The Snail

    by William Cowper

    To grass, or leaf, or fruit, or wall,
    The snail sticks close, nor fears to fall,
    As if he grew there, house and all
    Together.

    Within that house secure he hides,
    When danger imminent betides,
    Of storm, or other harm besides
    Of weather.

    Give but his horns the slightest touch,
    His self-collecting power is such,
    He shrinks into his house with much
    Displeasure.

    Where'er he dwells, he dwells alone,
    Except himself, has chattels none,
    Well satisfied to be his own
    Whole treasure.

    Thus, hermit-like, his life he leads,
    Nor partner of his banquet needs,
    And if he meets one, only feeds
    The faster.

    Who seeks him must be worse than blind
    (He and his house are so combined),
    If, finding it, he fails to find
    Its master.

  18. Cicada

  19. The Cicada in the Firs

    by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

    Charm of the vibrant, white September sun—
    How tower the firs to take it, tranced and still!
    Their scant ranks crown the pale, round pasture-hill,
    And watch, far down, the austere waters run
    Their circuit thro' the serious marshes dun.
    No bird-call stirs the blue; but strangely thrill
    The blunt faced, brown cicada's wing-notes shrill,
    A web of silver o'er the silence spun.

    O zithern-winged musician, whence it came
    I wonder, this insistent song of thine!
    Did once the highest string of Summer's lyre,
    Snapt on some tense chord slender as a flame,
    Take form again in these vibrations fine
    That o'er the tranquil spheres of noon aspire?