On Writing

Poem 199 – Dermaptera (Earwig)

Dermaptera (Earwig)
(From Greek; derma – skin, ptera – wings)

Those old wives, whoever they are, told
a tale that cursed the pincer bug into now:
said insects crawled into ears & laid eggs in the brain.
A silly story for a shy critter whose nocturnal tendencies
feed its shyness. The earwig wants a cozy, moist, dark
place to eat & sleep, & hunt when they’re up to it.

Like the butterfly, the earwig undergoes metamorphosis –
Though obviously their final form is a different kind of beauty.
Wings, they’ve got two sets, remaining mostly hidden.
Pointy pincers make noses scrunch & skin feel attacked
yet in the insect world these ferocious-seeming bugs
clean house. Environmental janitors, dermaptera feast
on the dead & decaying.

Spiritually speaking, the earwig represents a call to make
big changes. So when you lift that patio cushion, pull out
that leafy lettuce, open a wood-framed window or door
& a load of darting earwigs come at you in biblical downpour
– after you scream & swear, as you will, consider that even

the ugliest insect has purpose. Even the creepiest bug
emerges anew. Change comes big & small, constantly.

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