Monday, February 29, 2016

Firefly Poem (Tribute to Hilaire Belloc)

(Blogjob tags were essays of Longinusfireflieshabits of insectsmoral fablesmoral poems of Hilaire Bellocnovels by Leon UrisPhoturis pennsylvanicapoems in variable meter by Hilaire Belloc.)

At the community college from which I used to post, there was a writing contest. To keep things fair and equal for the entire community, all entries had to be printed and submitted directly to the appropriate office, not mailed or e-mailed. I wanted to post from there today. Did not happen. Drat. I had written a bit of Bad Poetry last summer that seemed just right for the audience--it's literary (the form and tone recall Hilaire Belloc), of local interest, and fairly long.
Well, on Friday I posted about my "Bad Poetry" and mentioned that it's not been posted here at Blogjob. Obviously it's time to change that. Here's the poem:
Fireflies
Vary in size.
Photinus are smaller.
Photuris are bigger.
No one knows precisely
How (normally, nicely)
They choose the right diet
To preserve their trim figure.
Males fly by night.
Each one carries a light
That he can flash
When he wants to impress
The world with his panache.
Neither heat nor ash
Nor any appearance of stress
Is produced by his light.
He does it to delight
Every one in the vicinity,
But especially to show affinity
For a female the same size as he.
At the sight of him, she
Blinks her light, which somehow
Matches his, in a vow
Of good will, and they meet
And canoodle and greet
And act charming and sweet--
That is, if they both are PhotinusAnd can talk of the critic Longinus,
Or else if they both are PhoturisAnd have read novels by Leon Uris.
But sometimes Photuris tires
Of waiting for the male
Her romantic heart desires,
Or perhaps bitter envies assail
Those who try to attract mates and fail.
Then she sits on the ground and espies
Photinus male as he flies,
And she blinks like a female Photinus 
(Having read not one page of Longinus)
And lures that smaller male to her side,
Where he sees, too late, a killer
Where he hoped to see a bride,
And she eats him, just for filler
To enliven her dull, lonely night...
And if all her nights are lonely,
Would that not be only right?
Here we have a male Photuris;
We've no books by Leon Uris;
Only his size can assure us
That he is indeed Photuris.What's he doing in this room?
Possibly, out in the gloom,
He observed his own beshert 
Doing some Photinus dirt,
And at perfidy so dire
He felt all his heart's desire
Dying like a rained-out fire,
And came in, just to deny her.
Rhymes like this one have no merit
But Tradition they inherit;
So, in keeping with Tradition,
Let us give these rhymes a mission,
Let us give these rhymes a moral
With which nobody can quarrel:
MORAL.--Don't bite and devour
Ev'n those who seem small and weak,
If to subject to your power
An admirer's heart you seek.
[Graphic credit: Gould363 at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Photuris_pensylvanica.jpg ; here shrunk to approximately life size.]
File:Photuris pensylvanica.jpg
Notes, for those who need them:
  1. Adult fireflies are carnivores. For a long time scientific information about their diet was not available because humans seldom see anything small enough for fireflies to eat, but they basically live on insects even smaller than they are. Either male and female Photuris fireflies might eat a smaller Photinus firefly if they could catch one; only females lure male Photinus by imitating the blinking light signals of female Photinus.
  2. Beshert = the mate for whom some people believe each of us was predestined.
  3. I've never read any of Leon Uris 's novels, but click on his name for an Amazon link.
  4. And here's a link to the best known work of Longinus .