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February 25, 2012 / Rae Spencer

Cicadas

Summer seems within reach, so I can’t resist a selection from the summer archives.

Cicadas

Their last earthbound form clings
hollow gargoyle relic of claw and eye
split with surgical precision to release
the winged adult.

If I held one of these amber
husks to my ear, would a dusty
song of waning summer pulse
like the tide in a scrolled shell?

15 Comments

  1. Vicki / Feb 25 2012 7:42 PM

    I have never seen one, how big are they?

    • Rae Spencer / Feb 25 2012 8:01 PM

      The ones I’ve seen have been an inch or two in the body, with longer wings. I didn’t have much luck finding them until a few summers ago, and I’m still not great at spotting them. And I’ve never found one in the process of shedding its skin, which has become almost an obsession for me. Maybe this summer!

  2. withoutaudacity / Feb 25 2012 10:28 PM

    When living in Ann Arbor, we witnessed the 17-year cicadas in 2005. This particular group won’t be seen as adults again until 2022.

    • Rae Spencer / Feb 25 2012 11:04 PM

      I’m pretty sure that all of the ones I’ve seen are annual cicadas. We have them in the yard every year, but never a true swarm. Just three or four at a time. I’m kind of jealous, when I hear about the periodic emergences. It must be an amazing sight!

  3. Spiral Dreamer (Francis) / Feb 25 2012 10:34 PM

    Beautiful pictures of the cicadas, I still have to see one when I have the camera handy. 🙂

    • Rae Spencer / Feb 25 2012 11:11 PM

      Thank you! (I honestly believe these photos are mostly a product of luck…)

  4. Betty Hayes Albright / Feb 26 2012 5:01 PM

    Great photos! (I’ve never seen or heard a cicada before). And the poem is excellent!

    • Rae Spencer / Feb 26 2012 5:34 PM

      Never heard one! Now I’m adding “cicada video, including sound” to my summer wish list…

      In the meantime, this YouTube video is pretty awesome:

  5. Jeanette Gallagher / Feb 27 2012 1:22 PM

    You are “pretty awesome!” The poem fantastic and the pictures so beautiful! I highly doubt luck has anything to do with either…

  6. Jeanette Gallagher / Feb 27 2012 1:23 PM

    Forgot to mention the great video! Enjoyed so much. Thanks!

  7. bardessdmdenton / Feb 27 2012 3:32 PM

    Heard in late summer but rarely seen!

    Wonderful photographs and the poem is uniquely descriptive…I especially love the last stanza!

  8. eric shackle / Feb 29 2012 10:50 PM

    I love your poem.

    Perhaps you would like to read a story I’ve just written about cicadas in my blog:
    Nimblenoms.blogspot.com

    Best wishes, Eric Shackle (retired Sydney journalist).

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