“He said that we belonged together because he was born with a flower and I was born with a butterfly and that flowers and butterflies need each other for survival.” ~Gemma Malley, The Declaration
It’s finally that time of year some of us have been longing for, SPRING! (Though I’m still waiting for it to actually get here… Mother Nature seems to have decided she doesn’t have to follow her own calendar) And what comes with spring? That’s right; beautiful butterflies, delightful dragonflies, hovering honeybees, malicious mayflies, gnawing gnats, slinking spiders, merciless mosquitos… ok, so maybe not all those have been looked forward to but, in honor of spring (kinda-sorta, for some of us) showing up, this weekend we shall celebrate the Words of Bugs!
So, spritz on your choice of insect repellent, relax, and enjoy this weekend’s silly world of creepy crawlies!
(To our email readers, apologies for the double post. Our “bugs” were just over-eager to see you!)
“Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
“Some people find fall depressing, others hate spring. I’ve always been a spring person myself. All that growth, you can feel Nature groaning, the old bitch; she doesn’t want to do it, not again, no, anything but that, but she has to. It’s a fucking torture rack, all that budding and pushing, the sap up the tree trunks, the weeds and the insects getting set to fight it out once again, the seeds trying to remember how the hell the DNA is supposed to go, all that competition for a little bit of nitrogen; Christ, it’s cruel.” ~John Updike, The Witches of Eastwick
Sleeping in the Forest
“I thought the earth remembered me,
she took me back so tenderly,
arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds.
I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms
breathing around me, the insects,
and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.”
Work Without Hope
All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair—
The bees are stirring—birds are on the wing—
And Winter, slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!
And I, the while, the sole unbusy thing,
Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.
Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow,
Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.
Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may,
For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away!
With lips unbrighten’d, wreathless brow, I stroll:
And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul?
Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve,
And Hope without an object cannot live.
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge
“It is amazing what a lot of insect life goes on under your nose when you have got it an inch from the earth. I suppose it goes on in any case, but if you are proceeding on your stomach, dragging your body along by your fingernails, entomology presents itself very forcibly as a thoroughly justified science.” ~Beryl Markham, West with the Night
“Nothing is more humbling than to look with a strong magnifying glass at an insect so tiny that the naked eye sees only the barest speck and to discover that nevertheless it is sculpted and articulated and striped with the same care and imagination as a zebra. Apparently it does not occur to nature whether or not a creature is within our range of vision, and the suspicion arises that even the zebra was not designed for our benefit.” ~Rudolf Arnheim
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
~Robert A. Heinlein
“If all insects on Earth disappeared, within 50 years all life on Earth would end. If all human beings disappeared from the Earth, within 50 years all forms of life would flourish.” ~Jonas Salk
“Clouds of insects danced and buzzed in the golden autumn light, and the air was full of the piping of the song-birds. Long glinting dragon-flies shot across the path, or hung tremulous with gauzy wings and gleaming bodies.” ~Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
An ant on the tablecloth
Ran into a dormant moth
Of many times his size.
He showed not the least surprise.
His business wasn’t with such.
He gave it scarcely a touch,
And was off on his duty run.
Yet if he encountered one
Of the hive’s enquiry squad
Whose work is to find out God
And the nature of time and space,
He would put him onto the case.
Ants are a curious race;
One crossing with hurried tread
The body of one of their dead
Isn’t given a moment’s arrest-
Seems not even impressed.
But he no doubt reports to any
With whom he crosses antennae,
And they no doubt report
To the higher-up at court.
Then word goes forth in Formic:
‘Death’s come to Jerry McCormic,
Our selfless forager Jerry.
Will the special Janizary
Whose office it is to bury
The dead of the commissary
Go bring him home to his people.
Lay him in state on a sepal.
Wrap him for shroud in a petal.
Embalm him with ichor of nettle.
This is the word of your Queen.’
And presently on the scene
Appears a solemn mortician;
And taking formal position,
With feelers calmly atwiddle,
Seizes the dead by the middle,
And heaving him high in air,
Carries him out of there.
No one stands round to stare.
It is nobody else’s affair
It couldn’t be called ungentle
But how thoroughly departmental
“The ant is knowing and wise, but he doesn’t know enough to take a vacation” ~Clarence Day
“Time is rhythm: the insect rhythm of a warm humid night, brain ripple, breathing, the drum in my temple—these are our faithful timekeepers; and reason corrects the feverish beat.”
~Vladimir Nabokov, Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle
“A brown spotted lady-bug climbed the dizzy height of a grass blade, and Tom bent down close to it and said, “Lady-bug, lady-bug, fly away home, your house is on fire, your children’s alone,” and she took wing and went off to see about it — which did not surprise the boy, for he knew of old that this insect was credulous about conflagrations, and he had practised upon its simplicity more than once.”
~Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
“A stray fact: insects are not drawn to candle flames, they are drawn to the light on the far side of the flame, they go into the flame and sizzle to nothingness because they’re so eager to get to the light on the other side.” ~Michael Cunningham, By Nightfall
Great fleas have little fleas
upon their backs to bite ’em
and little fleas have lesser fleas
and so ad infinitum.
~Augustus De Morgan, Budget of Paradoxes
“What gives a wriggle
And makes you giggle
When you eat’em?
Whose weensy little feet
Make my heart really beat?
Why, it’s those little creepy crawlies
That make me feel so jolly.
For the darling centipede
My favorite buggy feed
I always want some more.
That’s the insect I adore
More than beetles, more than crickets,
Which at times gives me the hiccups.
I crave only to feed
On a juicy centipede
And I shall be happy forevermore.”
~Kathryn Lasky, The Capture, Guardians of Ga’Hoole
Perceive ye not that we are worms, designed
To form the angelic butterfly, that goes
To judgment, leaving all defence behind?
Why doth your mind take such exalted pose,
Since ye, disabled, are as insects, mean
As worm which never transformation knows?
~Dante Alighieri, Purgatorio
“My book should smell of pines and resound with the hum of insects.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
“People just weren’t interesting. Maybe they weren’t supposed to be. But animals, birds, even insects were. I couldn’t understand it.” ~Charles Bukowski
“This man is the bee’s knees, Arthur, he is the wasp’s nipples. He is, I would go so far as to say, the entire set of erogenous zones of every major flying insect of the Western world.”
~Douglas Adams, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, Hitchhiker’s Guide
“Dear Samantha, I’m sorry we have to get a divorce
I know that seems like an odd way to start a love letter but let me explain:
it’s not you, it sure as hell isn’t me
it’s just human beings don’t love as well as insects do”
“I tell you solemnly, that I have many times tried to become an insect. But I was not equal even to that. I swear, gentlemen, that to be too conscious is an illness- a real thorough-going illness.”
~Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground
“She was afraid of all that and so much more, but what terrified her most was inside of her, an insect of unnatural intelligence who’d been living in her brain her entire life, playing with it, clicking across it, wrenching loose its cables on a whim.” ~Dennis Lehane, Shutter Island
“I’ve been collecting bugs since I was ten; it’s the only way I can stop their whispers. Sticking a pin through the gut of an insect shuts it up pretty quick.” ~A.G. Howard, Splintered
“We hope that, when the insects take over the world, they will remember with gratitude how we took them along on all our picnics.” ~Bill Vaughan
House, n. A hollow edifice erected for the habitation of man, rat, mouse, beetle, cockroach, fly, mosquito, flea, bacillus, and microbe. ~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary
“I’ll stop eating steak when you stop killing spiders.” Absurdity: comparing cows to spiders. Arachnids are pure evil. They’re like a cigarette manufacturer or a terrorist. They’re organized religion on eight legs.” ~Davey Havok, Pop Kids
“I had the great idea of using markers to gently color the ants so I could tell them apart, but I learned that this is exactly like somebody trying to gently color on you with a thirty-story building.
Without dwelling on the tragedy, I’d just like to say that I’m deeply sorry to Mr. Purple and the surviving Purple family.”
~Jim Benton, Okay, So Maybe I Do Have Superpowers
We hope you enjoyed this weekend’s volume of Words and didn’t get too many bug bites during your visit, there’s just one more thing we’d like you to keep in mind as you go about your day:
“If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito.” ~Betty Reese
As always we thank you for sharing a bit of your weekend with us and we wish you a great one! ~Jennie & Christy
This week’s Bug themed music playlist via YouTube, features music by: No Doubt, Elvis Costello, Stompin Tom Conners, Shaman’s Harvest, and more.
And, for an encore, poetry from the insects themselves: