The woodlouse lived under a log, with her isopod family But she had a dream she’d harboured since birth: She longed to visit the sea To see the big waves rolling, smell the salt and brine on the air to move through the sand in a faraway land How she longed to visit there The pull to the coast was insistent, it would not leave her be Though her composting duties were plenty Log-life couldn’t quell the call of the sea When she could resist no longer, she bid goodbye to her home As she followed the tow of the current To the beaches she longed to comb For years she wandered the coastline, drenched in scenery Met her cousins; the crab and the lobster Soaked in the awe of the sand and sea Though she revelled in her wanders, she began to feel alone A tug in her gut that was slow and persistent Called her back to the log that was home Her thirst for the sea satiated, she said goodbye to sand and sea Followed the scent of the petrichor, as it led her to where she should be To the log with the woodlice who loved her A place she would never be alone In the folds of her isopod family, she was finally at home.
I used to play with woodlice as a child (we weren’t allowed a pet, so we found them where we could). Something in me (that inner knowing) has always thought of woodlice as harmless and friendly. Imagine my delight when research for this post confirmed what I’ve always known: woodlice don’t bite or sting, they don’t carry any diseases and (prepare to have your mind blown) they’re not even insects at all, they’re crustaceans!
What wonderful crustaceans they are too. They’re nature’s great recyclers, composting the earth and maintaining soil health. Researchers have even found they have personalities, with some bold and some shy. They get lonely too, living longer in groups than on their own. The female woodlice have marsupial pouches for their young and care for them for months after they’re born.
My son has carried on my woodlice loving legacy and is the great woodlouse rescuer in our house: if he sees one in need, he scoops it up, carries it outside and deposits it in the nearest vegetation. As cute as they are they don’t like it inside, unless you have damp in your home, then they thrive. So, if you see a lot of them (I’m talking to you Mum) best get that damp treated, and maybe thank the woodlice for pointing it out.
What’s the most surprising fact you’ve ever found out about the natural world?
Thanks for joining me for another Sunday rhyme time. I’m low on posts lately because I’m spending time editing some of my poems for a poetry pamphlet competition. I’m new to editing and it doesn’t come easily to me! The original verses seem so etched in my brain that even when I try to change a line or word, I still read the poem in its original form. But it’s all a work in progress, and I’m trusting I’ll find my editing flow as time goes on.