National Insect Week Poetry Challenge: Take part with Hugh Dunkerley, Tom Harding, Debbie Strange, Stuart Buck, Zachary Payne, Tania Hershman, Peter Hughes, Dai Fry and myself. Monday: Dragonflies, Tuesday: Wasps And Bees,Wednesday: Ants, Thursday: Beetles, Friday: Butterflies, Saturday: Moths, Sunday: Flies. Email me and I will add yours to my daily wordpress posts, also posted to Twitter and Facebook. You can still add to all the posts already published. Here are today’s: Ants

Monday’s post: Ants


to the ants

i am sorry that i used to collect you in matchboxes
in my pocket, far away from the rest of your family

i was young and had yet to discover how cold life can be
without the soft crawling of other bodies

-Stu Buck

-Dr. Tania Hershman



Ants in their city of sisters
sing molecule lullabies


my animal heart
my nettle nerves


five years underground, four weeks on the wing
stag beetle, sing!


blind architects, boys and girls in desert towers
termites eat the world, peaceful little ones


does the butterfly remember
what the caterpillar knows?

-Anja Konig

The Ants

Perceive the ants
Toiling hard
Constantly collecting countless
Grains inside the Earth
Crawling in line,
Oblivious of time
Fearless of being crushed
Treading unawares,
Little creatures greatly great.
Presenting a lesson
Of unity and discipline.
Engrossed in their work,
duty they do not shirk.
If so little an insect
Can be so perfect,
I regret so say, that man
Has still a lot to learn
To earn, to live, to give and grant
To work and work like…
The little Great Ants.

-Anjum Wasim Dar
Copyright ©2020 Anjum Wasim Dar

Zachary conversation among pesticides

=Zachary Payne

an ant
pushing the universe
up this hill
in a water droplet
i find my inner strength

tanka published in Atlas Poetica 25, July 2016

a black river
of ants surges across
the pavement
they know their destination
long before I know mine

Honourable Mention, 2019 British Haiku Society Tanka Awards

-Debbie Strange

Ant 1 Hugh DunkerleyAnt 2 Hugh Dunkerley

-Hugh Dunkerley

Ant Peter Hughes

-Peter Hughes

Warrior Poet

My tribe the Dorylini,
we were there when
the continents broke.
I am an army ant.

My mandibles are strong
as is my armour
and if you believe
then I have wings.

Spiders and scorpions
sometimes my friends
other times prey.
Marching, hunting, resting.

We are nomads
Eating anything
that gets in our way.

I have loved queens
and fought armies.
When my legion rests,
I compose laments
of love and death
and the futility of marching.

My poems are formed
from chemicals
and pheromones.

Don’t loiter in my path,
listen for I am close.
My antennae will
know you and I will
take your life.

-© Dai Fry 23rd June 2020.

Must Rid

these mites and flies, unneeded
thoughts, prick painful memories,
as they sip my Corvid blood,
shit and sick beneath my wings.

Must sit in a nest of wood
abided ants, who alarmed
swarm all over me, and burn
off waste with formic acid.

Envy pheasants as dust in hot
ash from bonfires, and more so
the Jay as steals a lit fag
to fry their unwanted pests.

Ant Poem 1

Ant Poem

Here’s someone
broken free of wherever
they’re supposed to be,
venturing along your arm
as easy as a person
going out to buy the morning paper.
Pausing, perhaps to listen
to the wind in the poplar trees
shivering above you both;
his future, momentarily,
in the palm of your hand.

Ant Poem 2

Summer Wind

I wouldn’t be surprised
if a few of these ants
have begun to lose faith
what with the summer wind gusting
so wildly about them,
the tall grass sounding like a sea
preparing to part itself.
What’s to stop one or two
falling behind?
Forsaking what may come
for the pleasures
of this earthly afternoon,
sheltering in the shade
of a dandelion or curling
beneath the marble temple
of your naked arm.

-Tom Harding

Its Path

An ant wends
between my boots

Your trail unplanned, unkempt
unruly this way and that,

yet, looked back on
your path dignified,
august.You define

it by use. A search
for provisions others
may follow. An invisible
map to some.

Paul Brookes

Bios And Links

-Zachary Payne

is poet and translator who works as a Spanish Professor on the island of Oahu. Poetically he has published poetry chapbooks in Spanish in Peru and Spain and has published two full collections of poems in Spanish, the most recent being Robos, Setas & Sombras(Huerga y Fierro, 2014) and was included in the anthology: Disidentes: antología de poetas críticos españoles 1990-2014. (La oveja roja, 2015).
Zach continues to write in Spanish but on occasions will write in English. Termites: the illegal occupation of paradise is his first poetry collection written entirely in English. In late July 2020 his second English collection Beyond Heroin will drop with Hesterglock Press.

Twitter: @arteenlazanja

-Tom Harding

is a poet and illustrator based in Northampton, UK. His second collection of poetry and drawings, Afternoon Music, is available now from Palewell Press.

He is also the editor of the Northampton, UK poetry magazine Northampton Poetry Review

-Anja Konig’s

first collection “Animal Experiments” was published by Bad Betty Press in June 2020. Her first pamphlet “Advice for an Only Child” from Flipped Eye was shortlisted for the 2015 Michael Marks prize. She is obsessed with ants and always carries a magnifying glass.

-Hugh Dunkerley

has published two full collections, Hare and Kin, both with Cinnamon Press. He lives in Brighton and teaches at The University of Chichester.

Peter Hughes

is based in north Wales. He is a poet and the founding editor of Oystercatcher Press. He has produced innovative versions of several classic Italian texts. His most recent book is ‘A Berlin Entrainment’, from Shearsman.

-Tania Hershman’s

poetry pamphlet, How High Did She Fly, was joint winner of Live Canon’s 2019 Poetry Pamphlet Competition and was published in Nov 2019, and her hybrid particle-physics-inspired book ‘and what if we were all allowed to disappear’ was published by Guillemot Press in March 2020. Tania is also the author of a poetry collection, a poetry chapbook and three short story collections, and co-author of WritingShort Stories: A Writers’ & Artists’ Companion (Bloomsbury, 2014). She is co-creator of
, curator of short story hub ShortStops ( and has a PhD in creative writing inspired by particle physics.

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