Wednesday, August 18, 2010

James Reeves: "Important Insects"

My post on Thomas Hardy's and Walter de la Mare's poems involving insects put me in mind of a poem by James Reeves.  Sorry, but I am unable to offer any thematic connections between the three poems other than . . . insects. 

               Important Insects

Important insects clamber to the top
Of stalks; look round with uninquiring eyes
And find the world incomprehensible;
Then totter back to earth and circumscribe
Irregular territories pointlessly.
Some insects narcissistically assume
Patterns of spots or stripes or burnished sheen
For purposes of sex or camouflage,
Some tweet or rasp, though most are without speech
Except a low, subliminal, mindless chatter.
Take heart: those scientists are wrong who find
Elements of the human in their systems,
Despite their busy, devious trafficking
Important insects simply do not matter.

The Questioning Tiger (1964).

                                          Jan van Kessel the Younger
                                    "Fruit and Insects" (17th century)

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