Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Seventeen Year Itch

They sleep for seventeen years
(an epoch of indecision to shame Hamlet)
so I wonder what is it, in the end
that persuades them to give this life a shot -
to leave their comfy dark cryogenic chamberfuls
of dreams, of conversations
that never end and never begin,
of gossamer webs of philosophy
and imaginary technicolour -
to give all that up
and roll the dice on eating,
Did it depend on a unanimous vote
and a swarm of would-be wakers
finally bulled the dreamer in the corner
into giving it a shot?
Or maybe everyone was perfectly content playing games
until some trouble-maker proposed a dare?
Or maybe, quite simply, everyone suddenly realized
that they were hungry, seventeen-year hungry,
starving slobbering ravenous and dreams are just thin broth?

But whatever, the reason
is overwhelming and for a month
we are cicada-fied
we are cicada-swarmed
alarmed with cicadas
it is a cicadarama
as they make up for lost time
and blanket the earth
with their quivering new red eyes
their eager singular oceanic cries
their gentle insistent rustle of life...

I watched him shudder out of his chrysalis
pausing, halfway, to
crumpled tissue wings wet -
so tiny in the breeze -
Soon he will chirp and crawl and feed
but now he
and waits.

Perhaps he knows as well as the rest of us
that the sun might be shining
and the sap might be rising
but it's still a dangerous thing -
deciding to get out of bed in the morning.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. That poem rocks.

4:54 PM  

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