The ant was unusually solitary Working the days away Building a mound deep underground A palace for one ant living his way It was the nicest hill in the hillside Best of all it was just for him He filled it with sweets, high value treats He needed no queen, he was king Time stole by and the ant looked on As his neighbours toiled all day Marvelling at his cleverness in building a mansion for one ant to stay No duties for sisters or brothers Only a care for himself on this Earth No more grind and graft on an overworked staff He’d built an empire for all he was worth Time stole by and the ant looked on At his neighbours’ humdrum life As they toiled away in the heat of the day Against an endless tide of strife Yet he also noticed devotion The ants’ love burning bright from within He felt a pang of loss, for such affection had never been shown to him As he watched the common community Between the collective of kith and kin He found Kingship of his hill meant little When there was no one to share it with him Time stole by and an emptiness Settled deep into his heart He’d achieved everything he’d aimed for But he’d striven wrong from the start A yearning took root in the deepest of depths Down within his soul He ached to connect with the colony To be a small part of the whole One day a young ant from the hill got lost and she came across his home The king’s cries of despair elicited care as she told him, You’re never alone. You are always one of many, You’re just tuned to the wrong frequency Her antennae touched his, ever so lightly And all at once he could see As the world before him exploded in a nuance of sense and smell he felt connection and kinship to colony exploding in every cell He thanked the young ant and together They returned to the neighbouring nest Toiling in deep communion King no more, yet his soul was at rest.
I love writing these anthropomorphic verses for Sunday rhyme time. I see a creature, feel an affinity with it and a story springs up around it.
I also like to do a little digging into the background of my subjects. Apparently there are no king ants, only queens. Most ants in a colony are female, the males live to mate with the queen and shortly after fulfilling their purpose they die. Nature can be brutal.
I’ve got some ants lodging with me at the moment. They’re bunking down in the living room where we watch a bit of Gilmore Girls together. They seem to be thriving on a diet of biscuit and cake crumbs. As much as I enjoy their company, I’m hoping they’ll move on to more suitable premises once the weather gets a bit warmer. If not, I’ll have to give them their marching orders.
Challenge time: try saying anthropomorphise three times fast. I can barely say it once, which is a bit of a bugger when I’m trying to explain my poetry to people:
People: ‘So, what kind of poetry do you write?’
Me: ‘Mostly nature poems, where I anthro…anthro…anthropomor…po…mor…po….[defeated sigh] I give human characteristics to animals and insects.’