Wendy Murray, I hope you’re reading today’s post. One spring day in 2002 I found a dead wasp on a windowsill and wrote a poem about it, “Death of a Wasp.” It was for a collection you were editing for me at Boyds Mills called THE ALLIGATOR IN THE CLOSET (2003). You said it was the kind of poem that tugged at your heart and you wondered if I could write a whole book of poems that close to the bone. The result was CONNECTING DOTS (2004).
Two days ago I noticed a wasp bumping against the window next to where I was reading. I watched for a while and returned to my book. Yesterday I found the insect dead. It brought back memories of the original poem and the time.
DEATH OF A WASP
by David L. Harrison
Bumping at the windowpane
He fought against the solid air
That held him as a prisoner there,
But all his struggles were in vain.
Never comprehending glass
Clear as air that stopped him hard
And blocked his freedom to the yard,
Repeatedly he tried to pass.
Eventually he lost his fight
And perished on a sunny sill
Facing toward his freedom still,
Wings awry in broken flight.
He had a name, Trypoxylon,
A small but vibrant living thing
Who came in by the door in spring
And in a day or two was gone.