Sunday, January 17, 2010

Song of the Cicada (draft #4)

Cicadas sing the clack and click of timbals,
a cacophony for hot summer days
when sticky sweat runs down slippery backs.

Their timbals buckle out and bend back in,
disperse a shaking sound as of rattles
rising and falling like deep and repeated knife stabs,
unending even deep past dim light into the night
descending out from trees
off into humid and misty airs over fields
of sword grass grown fat off flood plain waters.

Thus the male hearkens to its mate,
and screaming at me through ossicle and cochlea
he becomes proof positive:
time plays out moment by moment,
burdens are rewards all their own,
and the cicada's empty rust-colored shells shed
symbolic carcasses remain an ironic but muted reminder of the cycle of life.


shana said...

i really enjoy this! the knife stabs into the night really pulled me. i love and hate cicadas.. but i especially appreciate their symbolism. "screaming at me through osscle and cochlea" is great too, turns hearing into such a mechanical thing!

Rory Gibbens-Rolph said...

There is a scientific-esque undercurrent through this poem. I wanted to imbue the discussion of cicada's with some measure of cred, hence the double use of timbals. The word cicada itself sounds very scientific I think. It felt only natural to continue this theme by using the medical terminolgy for parts of the ear. Ossicle and cochlea also continue the poetic sound-theme of the c and s sounds.