Tuesday 30 October 2012

Reasons to Be Cheerful. 4

There was a beautiful green cricket in the bathroom this morning - a small one, I think a short-winged conehead, a species that's been doing very well lately. She's been around a few days, moving from wall to wall. I know she's only waiting around to die, and yet I always find the sight of a cricket ridiculously cheering. Perhaps I was exposed to too much Jiminy Cricket at an impressionable age. Or maybe it's the association with summer grass and sunshine. Emily Dickinson clearly loved crickets...

My Cricket
Farther in summer than the birds,
Pathetic from the grass,
A minor nation celebrates
Its unobtrusive mass.

No ordinance is seen,
So gradual the grace,
A pensive custom it becomes,
Enlarging loneliness.

Antiquest felt at noon
When August, burning low,
Calls forth this spectral canticle,
Repose to typify.

Remit as yet no grace,
No furrow on the glow,
Yet a druidic difference
Enhances nature now.

Or there is this, perhaps more apt to the time of year:

'Twas later when the summer went
Than when the cricket came,
And yet we knew that gentle clock
Meant nought but going home.

 'Twas sooner when the cricket went
Than when the winter came,
Yet that pathetic pendulum
Keeps esoteric time.


  1. I'm humbled (not something my wife imagines is possible) by your knowledge of the natural world Nige. A short-winged Conehead? It's been doing well lately....how so, and how do you know? And that is a Mrs Conehead....er...how can we be sure? Beautiful poem.

  2. You'll be relieved to hear I had to look it up Mahlerman - but yes the old conehead's doing very well, along with several other cricket species, working their way up from the south coast across much of the country, and very welcome they are. I don't remember ever coming across one when I was a boy. And the females have that long 'tail' thing - it's for laying eggs!

  3. What a splendid picture.
    Did you know that Emily Dickinson did not give titles to her poems? Her early editors (who, to be fair had an enormous job to edit her scraps) assigned the titles. I think "My Cricket" seriously detracts from one of her finest poems, which is about "a minor nation", not one cricket alone.
    In honor of Keat's birthday & the advancing season, how about "the cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever, & seems to one, in drowsiness half lost, the grasshopper's among some grassy hills". Not sure that wording is quite right as I'm doing it from memory.
    Susan from post-Sandy NYC -- TG we are lucky to have power where we live.

  4. Its lovely to see one over there Nige. Really not one I'd have expected to see when I was still over there. Must be that global warming. Sandy hit about 200 miles north of us and all the nastiness was on the northside. 'All' we got was 4 days continuous rain and winds 35 to 60 mph. No more power outages than normal. Though honestly you would be appalled at how unreliable power is over here compared to UK norms.

    Oh yes and over here we'd call that one a Katydid.

    Check out this one from my garden a couple of years ago.


  5. Handsome indeed! Thanks Banished, and Susan - and glad you guys got through Sandy.