Kosher Insecta

fried beetles


Kosher Insecta

“…all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you.”
                                                                                                            Leviticus, chapter 11, verse 23

Chow down on the damselflies,
Munch upon their crop –
Bite upon their compound eyes
Until you feel them pop.
Scoff on moths and feast on ’wigs,
Or ’skaters, ’skeeters, whirligigs;
Aphids served up by the dish
With ladybirds and silverfish.

Count the legs to know the score.
If six apiece, our bugs are pure.

Chomp upon the wasp when ripe
And pluck each silky wing,
Chew upon its barley-stripe
And suck its juicy sting.
Scarabs sate the palate well,
Just don’t forget to crack the shell;
Maggots taste so sweet and young,
When slowly melting on the tongue.

Count each foot and thigh and shin –
When legs are six, we never sin.

But locusts and crickets
All look like they’ve rickets
With bandy gert hindlegs for springing around.
And mantids, you’re saying
Have forelimbs for praying.
But all use all six when they creep on the ground.
And fleas, if you please, walk the hexa-gait too –
(At least, in the circus they do.)

So count each leg, each gnat and bee:
For six is fit anatomy !


But feast not on the mutants,
The foul four-leggèd mutants !
Such creeping fowls thou shalt not eat,
With legs above their feet.

Beware the peacock butterfly !
I beg you, chase them from your homes –
Don’t let these devils flutter by,
With four-leg legs and foreleg combs.

Then feast not on the mutants,
These foul four-leggèd mutants !
Count the limbs in which they’re clad:
Six legs good, four legs bad.

And I heard of some bats in New Zealand
Who go on all fours on the floor
Their wings get tucked up, and each free hand
Is def’nit’ly walked on, for sure !

So shout it out to congregations:
None shall taste abominations !
Heresies thou shalt not eat
With legs above their feet

So gather, gather for the feast
Of insects, great and small.
They’re pure and kosher, ev’ry beast:
Six-leggèd, one and all !



Royal Wedding

brown black white butterfly on green leaf plant
Photo by Pixabay on


Royal Wedding

There, on every table,
As the best man gave his speech,
There was a box, about a hand’s-width each.
With a couple of pretty bows,
And little holes in rows.

The day was cooling off
As the sun was slipping down the sky.
A blackbird sang duets
With the buzzing of a fly,
And the garden’s sweet perfume was in full bloom.

And then the moment came
At the bidding of the bride:
The bows were soon untied
As we gingerly undid the lid,
To find a single butterfly inside.

Large, by British standards,
Their leaded-lights stained orange-red,
And quick enough they roused from bed.
Their wings all beating seagull-slow
As up away they go.

A cloud of monarch butterflies –
A plague, almost, a scarlet host
To start the dance and lead the toast –
A starling-swarm, a bridal crown,
Confetti that went up instead of down.

They soon dispersed into the beds,
A doddle for a bug collector –
Crowding any flowers still in nectar.
A little sugar on the hand,
And maybe we could bring one in to land.

But if, like any wedding guest,
They hoped to meet their future mate,
Or else at least to score a date,
Well, better come on strong:
They’d all be dead before too long.

And as for starting families,
They’d find no milkweed here.
Their kids will starve to death, I fear.
Some metaphor for wedded life:
A pushy groom and barren wife !

There is no Plan A

Animalcules by Antony van Leeuwenhoek


There is no Plan A

First there was sunlight and bedrock and ocean,
And acids amino, all churned in a dance;
When somethings were randomly formed in that potion
Of nutrient flow in a soupy expanse.
They hadn’t a thought or a want or a notion,
They hadn’t the know that they’d barely a chance;
They had no creator to watch with devotion,
So where could they go, and just how to advance ?
But networks were working and systems in motion
Which favour and grow and compete and enhance:
And so, life is life – a fluky explosion,
A spawny crescendo to blind happenstance.



Bleed All About It

closeup photo of black and gray housefly on white surface
Photo by Thierry Fillieul on


Bleed All About It

They came at first in ones or twos:
Unseasonal, yet harmless.
And with a swipe of printed news,
I turned those lively flies to flews –
A dextrous-forearm mess.

I turned those bottled-blueboys black,
A stain upon the masthead group;
An asterisk to heavy flack,
An apt critique on pap and hack,
This headline now a scoop.

But long before Id reached the sport,
I heard some buzzing overhead;
And looking up, I must report,
A dozen more of equal sort –
The papers filth had spread !

With tabloid reciprocity
And breaking news of utter trash,
With gutterpress ferocity
I blazed each fresh atrocity
Upon my front-page splash.




nature blue animal transparent
Photo by Pixabay on



Zigger-buzzing, flitter-flying,
To and fro and fro and to –
A dragonfly is zagging-by,
His body shiny-new.
Ready for the slaughter,
With his goggles on and paint-job dry –
For three years, underwater,
He has somehow learned to fly.

A fighter jet, a microlight,
With wings of cellophane –
Drunk yet nimble in his flight,
He circles round, and round again.
A regal blur, a day-glow streak,
Who never rests from his deploy –
But when he does, he’s plastic-sleek:
This summer’s latest toy.

I meet him, though, in hot July,
Some distance from the river bank.
So jealous in his patch of sky,
He watches for a rival’s flank –
But they won’t come, and neither will
The ladies that he’s longing for.
So here he is, patrolling still:
A soldier who’s misplaced his war.



Pond Life

Hydra (Hydridae)
Hydra Producing a Bud by Jan Hamrsky


Pond Life

One day in our science class, we trooped out to the pond
And trawled our nets to haul a hoard from out the wet beyond.
We jamjarred up our specimens, our trove from out the deep,
And took our volunteers back to have a proper peep.
The swimmers and the sediments were busy in their dance,
Or squished between the slides beneath our microscopic glance.
        Tadpoles and waterfleas, fresh-water shrimps,
        Algae and flatworms and dragonfly nymphs,
        Rotifers, water bears, snails by the score,
        Whilygigs, boatmen and duckweed galore.
But best of all, the hydra: the monster in our lake –
One day, or so the rumour went, it turns into a snake !

Hydra, hydra,
Now that I’ve spied ya,
I can’t decide what I love about you more:
Your proof there’s a Zeus, or
Your looks of Medusa ?
Not hard to deduce you’re a snake down to your core.

Just think – an anaconda with a plethora of heads
To slither round the playing field and stalk the cycle sheds !
But Mrs Patrick told us no, the two did not equate,
For hydras were cnidarians, and snakes were vertabrates.
The former lacked a brain as such, and var’ous other parts –
(Though snakes, our teacher told us, were likewise not so smart,
And multi-headed mutants would attack their conjoined brothers)
But hydra bred asexually to be both spawn and mothers !
And better yet, they’d learned a trick for ageing without ageing
By morphing from their adult selves back to their childhood gauging –
So, rather like The Doctor, but with tentacles and stem.
I’d like to see old Herc attempt to kill off one of them !

They say you have a silent c
Well, not with me !
Cknidarians, cknidarians,
Aquatic antiquarians:
Preserving ancient shapes and genes,
Behold the mighty cknidarenes !
If only Greeks had known of you,
Just think the myths that would ensue !
Instead, your polyps are maligned –
Medusae, sure, but not the Grecian kind.
Cknidarians, cknidarians,
These water fairies dance about my mind.



The Ant-Days of Summer

flying ant


The Ant-Days of Summer

I think it must have been a day
When ants were flying
In July.
A long and hot and wingèd day
When ants were flying
By and by.
And that was when we chanced to meet,
With grounded ants about our feet.

Those virgin queens and horny males,
On scorching days
In late July.
The queens fly fast to test the males
On scorching days
When ants must fly.
The lads were swarming when we met –
But then, one shot is all they get.

The lucky males take turns to mate
With picky queens
In late July.
Upon the wing, the ants shall mate –
As jacks and queens
Shall fill the sky.
And I met you beneath their flights,
With royal weddings in our sights.

The girls bite off their wings to reign
As wingless queens
In late July
These girls will never fly again –
But hey, the queens
At least don’t die !
And you and I were changing lives,
As queens got down to digging hives.