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Posted on May 1, 2012

Acclimating Ourselves to Nature | Mary Harwell Sayler

Acclimating Ourselves to Nature | Mary Harwell Sayler

Acclimating Ourselves to Nature 

Despite the deep love and respect poets often have for nature, we must sometimes weather storms, deal with blight, and decide whether to take an injured cockroach to the vet or squish it! Living in rural Florida, Mary Sayler did the latter in this humorous poem from her forthcoming book, Living in the Nature Poem, to be published in mid-June.




I was trying to do that big bug a favor, killing him

like that, but he wouldn’t stay killed – like one

of those grade C thrillers on TV where someone

murdered keeps getting up and has to be shot

full of holes again and again, like the whole plot.

When I first found the cockroach lying there,

he was already dead – belly up, feet curled in

classic funeral position and well prepared to be

carried off, with last rites, quite formally on a bier.

Perhaps if I’d had the good sense to uplift him

with proper gear beneath his backside, he wouldn’t

have winced or squirmed. However, I’ve now learned

that the slight enfolding pressure of toilet paper

against a palmetto bug’s chest performs the best CPR.

With his feeble feet flagging, “I am alive!”

my tolerance could not survive this rally.

I pushed, pressed, squished, smushed, and still

his quivering antenna thrilled at my tough touch.

Although I was much impressed by his hearty level

of arousal, I crushed him – hard – and watched

him flatten into ooze. There’s simply no excuse

for such behavior!  That bug had better get it

through his head, what’s dead is dead, and I’m

no savior.