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The Interior Life of Insects

The house is full of insects, arrived by accident
Through open doors and windows,
Up drainpipes, between floorboards, down the chimney.

Once in, they are diminished, out of the element
Which set their brains aflutter
And drove them, until now unquestioning, to do or die.

Soldiers astray, lacking commanders, some set forth on silent
Route marches over featureless walls,
Their hopeless mission: to regain known territory.

Others stand immobilised for hours at a fixed point
In a trance of indecision,
The print of information fading from the memory.

In all of them, sooner or later, fuel and force are spent,
They drop down and disintegrate
And get swept up. Always the last to fall, the manic fly

Launches and relaunches for its proper continent,
Draining its reserves of energy
To make the light the air, its day lucky.

Audio file

Listen to this poem — read by Peter Hetherington