We don't kill the pretty things.
|The Saving Grace Of Comely Colours
It is uncivil, you see,
to murder a ladybug.
It wears the more passionate colours
of a late northern season,
on a polished back which gleams
like candied armour.
It could be the polka dots
or the gentle nips on our skin
which leave no impression but
whatever the reason,
there are no grounds for
flattening this beetle
beneath a heavy, human hand.
With outstretched wings,
and a flash of copper or claret,
they are daunting in flight;
but the beauty stuns you;
they become ethereal,
and there’s an instant softening
of once hardened intent.
A mosquito cannot evoke such awe,
as there is something savage about them,
with their contemptible, predacious buzzing.
They possess no moving beauty,
so a rolled paper or clenched fist
seem an appropriate and merciful release.
But, the mosquito has the last word,
as a quick spray of red splatters,
spurting from the broken, grey wire body,
like a Pollock on canvas.
You study it, with some morbid fascination
and deduce after a moment of scrutiny
that this is your very own blood.
And the moths,
with their fast-forward flutters
and penchant for fine fabric,
incite no kind feeling when
sloppy frays and patches take shape
in favourite sweaters or woven rugs.
Instead, there is a flurry of
swats and swipes which,
with any luck,
results in the beautiful star spray
of silvery, copper cruor,
gleaming metallic in the
calm, soft light.
It is the ladybug, or lady bird,
or lady beetle, if you like,
which seems regal to
the humans in the garden.
Saintly, like loaves and fishes,
it brings providence and prophecy,
simply by the grace of its
It will devour every aphid with
a brutal sort of gluttony,
but all is forgiven, because
the flowers are safe and
it wipes its mouth when
the meal is done.
Somehow it’s sad that
there is no mystery
in any of its freedoms.