An Evening Roach Conversation
It was late in the summer, and all through the house
Not an insect was stirring, not even a louse;
The fly-traps were hung in the kitchen with care
In hopes that the critters would land and stick there.
The doggies were sleeping, curled up in their beds,
Chasing rabbits and frisbees and balls in their heads;
And I put down my glasses, the book’s chapter was done,
So it lay on the table, awaiting the sun.
I was then just about to turn out the light,
When I noticed a something, a thing just out of sight,
So I put on my glasses to capture a glance,
All the better to see. Then I looked quite askance.
The shade of the reading lamp cast a soft glow
On the table and pills and the books in a row
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a very large roach, watching me with no fear.
With a nod of his head, and a stare at my eyes,
It was clear Blattellinae could not be denied,
So I spoke to him kindly, and softly intoned,
As he nodded and watched me, and gently condoned.
“Little friend,” said I slowly, “you are fearless and brave,
To be wandering around in the light of the shade,
And I wonder just what you are seeking tonight
Near by books and my bed, and the shade of the light.”
What he said quite surprised me, ‘twas strange as could be,
For he spoke like a lawyer, quite clearly and free,
Not at all like an insect, neither wasp nor arachnid,
And he spoke in a way that was most interactive.
“Would you like to know why I an here?” said he clearly,
While waving antennomere most cavalierly.
“Why yes,” I replied, “I would surely be happy
If you would enlighten me, surely and gladly.”
He was brown as a berry, and creased with white lines,
As if age had so graced him with wisdom and time
And he spoke like a sage, a philosopher true,
With a presence and quietude clearly he knew.
”You are one of a breed that disdains us, I fear,
And your peers think us hateful, and dirty, and drear,
But in truth, we are kindly, and ask you for little:
Some water, some rice, just a jot and a tittle.”
“And if you would please to tell them that we are not filthy,
Nor disease-ridden vectors, of this we’re not guilty.
We pick up the dirt on the floor, in the night,
And we vacuum the dishes, and polish them white.”
“We are glad to oblige you, and would surely be pleased
If you and your species would grant us reprieve
From the stomping and stamping and painful injustice
So we’d all live in peace, and no person disgust us.”
He did speak rather sadly, and wisely, I thought,
And I answered with words that were kindly and fraught
With the spirit of charity, honest and sure
For I meant them as certain as certain is pure.
“I will tell them,” I stammered, “and tell them I will,
And I hope that henceforward we’ll live and fulfill
This my promise: We shall never seek out and destroy
Our kind neighbors whose lives we shall henceforth enjoy”
With a nod, and a bow, and a podomere wave,
As he turned and most regally strode on his way,
And I heard him exclaim, as he dropped out of sight,
“May you all do what’s honest, and kindly, and right.”