Wake Up

Ants cope better
They revive
Being good scouts
determined
to adapt and
sally forth
to defy
insecticides
meant to rout them

Will they
inherit the dirt
they already inhabit
Will there be
a dearth of humans
when asteroids
predicted or not
traject directly
from unseen hands
to silence
the talking species
Will we hear ants
celebrate

Or will it be
“Not with a bang
but a whimper”
An untraceable
genocide
unrighteously conceived
but plausibly denied
by those who deem us
so beneath them
A blight on our planet

Ants can’t write poetry
to magnify reality
or dignify their plight
or dance pointlessly
under starlight
dreaming into
their lover’s eyes
or create symphonies
or paint

What they do well
is cooperate
navigate without
technology
Communicate
on top of
and below ground
They haven’t a clue
about quantum computers
nor take their cue
from statistics
spitting fear and
paralysis

Ants just find
those nooks
and crannies
where toxins
cannot arrive
And faith
reminds us
We do not mind
that there are
flowers
which only blossom
in the night

Night blooming cereus

AntBridge Crossing courtesy Igor Chuxlancev; Night-blooming Cereus by Ernie Murphy

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27 thoughts on “Wake Up

  1. Mary Jo, despite ants not being able to write, you brilliantly placed us in their (survivor) mindset. I greatly enjoyed all six stanzas, but especially the very vivid fourth one.

    • Thank you, Dave, for reading and commenting. It’s a strange juxtaposition no doubt, but sometimes it seems other species do some things better. But, we’re still here! Have a safe and thoughtfully awake week πŸ™‚

      • You’re welcome! “…sometimes it seems other species do some things better” — so true. And they’re less destructive to the planet. 😦 Have a safe rest of the week, too!

  2. And Covid now reminds us that we should smell the night-blossoming flowers sometimes. Sigh. It is a brilliant poem anyway, nice to read, uncomfortable to contemplate that we humans are one heck of a boastful species

    • Two kinds of boastfulness actually: those who think they know what’s best for other people, and those who think the Earth is better without us. Thanks for commenting!

  3. You had me scurrying to find out more about ants. Well, what I found was quite interesting. I did not know that there are more than 10,000 known ant species found on our earth. We think that there are a lot of humans on this world. Well, here is a statistic that amazed me: there are 1 million ants for every one of us. They have superhuman strength, but don’t have any lungs or ears. They do have two stomachs. They have been here long before us. They were around when the dinosaurs roamed the earth. They have staying power. I have often wondered if we really were the more advanced creature on this planet. Love the poem!!

  4. Silvia Lia Leigh, MD says:

    Dear Mary Jo, Maybe I am like an ant. English is not my primary language, I feel bad that I cannot truly truly appreciate enough your words, your poems. I know that you sound wonderful. The problem is with me…In the past, I will walk away from things that are difficult or that I do not understand. But I have changed. Thank God! If our connection is very thin, it is better than not at all. I have learned to be happy with little things in this life. Like the ants… Together, we are strong! If it is not for the Bible, I could not have ‘studied’ the ants. Now I see that they can move like an army without a captain, like an orchestra without a director, like a drama without a producer. No one takes the glory for their love of life, except God, their Creator (Proverbs 6:6-8). Praise the Lord!

  5. Courtnay Malo says:

    I love this! Lift up humanity!!! We need that so much these days, when we are constantly told we are a blight on the universe. This poem shows us our uniqueness and beauty while reminding us of lessons to be found in nature. xoxo

  6. Silvia Lia Leigh, MD says:

    Dear Mary Jo, thank you for attracting my attention to the night blooming flower. This is what I wrote about it:
    ONE NIGHT WITH THE KING
    There is a mysterious plant, of the cactus family, that blooms only at night. And it blooms only one night a year. If you are not attentive, if you do not want to pay the price to see mystery, you will miss its delicate beauty. It is called ‘cereus’ or ‘Christ in the manger’. Praise God who has made all things beautiful!

  7. Your wonderful poem reminded me of a Bible passage from Proverbs, which I had to learn as a child, “Go to the ant though sluggard, consider her ways and be wise…..” Ants are not only industrious, but they always look to have a sense of purpose and definitely work as a a team, I read something interesting recently, which made me think, “When a few ants in a colony are infected by a fungal disease, they spread the disease throughout the colony, by licking it off one another, with each ant receiving as much of the disease that their individual immune system can fight off effectively.” We could learn a lot from ants, methinks. πŸ™‚

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