I’ve said before that I’m not fond of birds, but they are a recurring theme of my poetry. I don’t, however, have many photos of birds as they so seldom stay still long enough to capture on film. (Hmm… I don’t suppose we capture anything on film anymore if we use digital cameras, so maybe that phrase must be considered an inelegant variation.)
I do a little better with photos of bugs and insects as they often seem less bothered by the approach of a camera lens and will sometimes sit still for hours on the same flower head.
I’ll admit that’s not usually the case for bees, who, true to their reputation, are usually too busy collecting nectar to pose for photos, resulting in far too many bum shots.
Butterflies, too, are difficult to pin down without a net and a killing bottle – which I don’t own as I limit my hunting to shooting with a camera. On a recent walk, I must have spent a full fifteen minutes almost stationary, while a red admiral danced at and around me. I failed to get even a single photo: it kept coming back to tease me, perching on my shoulder, my arm, my hand… all of which made it impossible to juggle the camera into position without setting it flying off again.
So, I have poems with birds but no photos to illustrate them, and photos of insects and very few poems to be illustrated.
Perhaps this piece – which was Commended in the Poetry Society’s Stanza Poetry Competition 2012 on the theme of ‘Stripes’, judged by John Siddique – has enough bugs in it to bear re-posting to go with these recent photos.
Lines as the sun rises above the pine copse
Dark across the lawn
gangling shadows stretch
between the honey promises
Under the hedge
a cross-hatched fret of grey
hems brightening green
Tucked in ivy dark
humbug snails hide
from the piercing sun
On the verandah
a single wasp investigates
a cricket corpse
Upwards to the summer sky
two iridescent flies
spiral round a barley-sugar twist
of vibrant air.