National Insect Week Poetry Challenge: Take part with Colin Dardis, Laura McKee, Kate Mattacks@mypaperskin, Cheryl Moskovitz, Phil Sheppard, Andres Rojas, sonja benskin mesher, Ankh Spice, Ian Seed, Amy Evans Bauer, Yvonne Marjot, Ama Bolton, Debbie Strange, Rachel Deering, Ama Bolton, John McManus, Claudia Serea, Linda Imbler, Anjum Wasir Dar, Judi Sutherland, Dai Fry and myself. Monday: Dragonflies, Tuesday: Wasps And Bees, Wednesday: Ants, Thursday: Beetles, Friday: Butterflies, Saturday: Moths, Sunday: Flies and sundry insects. Email me and I will add yours to my daily WordPress posts, also posted to Twitter and Facebook. This is the final day , but you can still add to all the posts already published. Here are today’s: Flies and other sundry insects

Rachael Ikins skipper on Aster

“Skipper on Aster” by Rachael Ikins

Rachael Ikins sipping nectar

“Sipping Nectar” by Rachael Ikins


Lady Birds by Debbie Strange

Cheryl Moskowitz Mosquito

Cheryl Moskowitz Not Alone

-Cheryl Moskowitz


No time for the unbelievable;
eyes follow in alarm,
around and conclude out;
a sound more often than a sight.

Think how human mechanics might
enable size for that same sound,
interlude for sleep, for dreams,
for needed solitude.

=Colin Dardis

Jo Weston “The Fawn And The Flea”. Please scroll down to the bottom of the link to see her video:

beer can graveyard
the house fly
does another lap

surprise party
gnats congregate around
the toilet light

afternoon heat
a couple of flies rest
on the guard dog’s nose

a fly floats
around my pint glass —
lock in

-Johnny Haiku McManus

Laura McKee Water Boatman

As it appears in Ink, Sweat And Tears

-Laura McKee

Winged Arrivals

Suddenly jewelled green is bitter.
Under the hottest sun this year
thin legs land on skinned brown.

I watch wondering.

How can that beautiful peacocked metallic hue
associate with this dull stench?

Hand gloved in plastic bag
I encompass the gathering point,
remove the flies feast.

I long to reclaim that brightest of greens
take it back for Barcelona days,
but the tainting odour lingers.

-Sue Finch


The Stalls crowd eating salmon at the bar
suspected nothing of the teeming mass,
a cast of thousands underneath the fridge
that held their ices for the interval,
their chocolate, strawberry and vanilla tubs.
One night, some careless usher dropped his change;
we had to move the thing to get it up.
Out came the cockroaches, big, little, large,
by ones and twos at first, dazed by the lights,
they straggled on. Then came a seething crowd,
returning veterans from Waterloo.
We left the room, lacking the killer drive.
The crackling-creaking-rustling quickly stopped.
They’d all returned to their ancestral home.

In time, some trendy so-and-so decreed
(ignoring the past visits of the Thames),
the basement decor needed livening up.
He had it done in smart brown hessian
to show off theatre prints, costume designs
from plays, grey aluminium-framed, for sale.
The Thirties’ paintwork was all covered up,
and things got warmer. He’d not bargained for
the insects having his same sense of taste,
brown sacking, just what any roach would love.
They did too. What a Spring they had, up, down
and round about. They even did things by
the cloakroom hatch, rode on velvet jackets,
drowned in gin.

-FIona Pitt-Kethley


Walking by the council houses in the falling snow, I thought I saw someone waving to me from a downstairs window. Yet when I got close enough to press my face against the frosty glass, I realised I had been mistaken; there was only a family watching television. Looking more closely still however, I saw myself walking on the screen. The youngest daughter was crying because the way I dragged my crushed leg behind me reminded her of an insect.

(From Shifting Registers, Shearsman, 2011)


in their armies
crawl across the stinging desert,
eyes begging the horizon to
meet them.

The sun is a metal mirror
reflecting, shooting the sting into
black backs till they
wilt yellow;

crumble into,
become a part of, that
sand they once crept on –
the white dust
of their ancestors.

Ian Seed In The Heat fly poem

-Ian Seed

Cicada nymphs spend years deep underground
then (should) emerge in the cool night to shed their skins.

That summer afternoon
you became a mother
for three days, and a tree
for three minutes. She’d emerged too early,
the small brown spaceship of her body
launched to the surface
by the tumult of a fallen oak. The sound
a woman looses when her bare leg
is persistently climbed by tiny hooked crampons
is shrill and bounces the eardrums. Cicada
choirs echo the same – perhaps
that’s how you bonded so deeply
with an insect. So tender
as she slowed, her skin hardening
in the sun, so carefully her stiff feet
pinned into cradle-cracks of branch. Once in a lifetime
or never, may all of us witness something born
again. And this creature, transparent as a body
of water, fighting from a split rock. Becoming deep
impossible with setting vein, aurora blood-
inked by sky and leaf and petal. Her wings twisted
awry too fast, betrayed by time
of day. The female of this species
stays silent. She watched us
quietly, complaining never
of our strange delight
our stranger grief
until she left this brief, hard light.

-Ankh Spice

Rachel Deering Blue bottle 426px-Osias_Beert_-_Flowers_in_a_German_tigerware_vase,_with_a_bluebottle_fly_and_a_Red_Admiral_butterfly,_on_a_ledge

File:Osias Beert – Flowers in a German tigerware vase, with a bluebottle fly and a Red Admiral butterfly, on a ledge.jpeg

Rachel Deering Bluebottle

Bluebottle by Rachel Deering


Funeral directors of blow flies arrive,
always punctual to manage the dead,
compound eyes range a corpse
with an efficient fervour,
appropriate the decay required
to feed and lay their gentles,
and despite their necessity,
their indisputable place
in the order of things –
we are disgusted –
death is not a nursery for the young.
Unashamedly, they wear their colours
with pride, electric blue and green,
polished to a mirrored sheen,
bristled, claw-toed, filigree-winged:
beautiful, in fact, and yet,
the buzz – the noise of corruption,
the bold pronouncement of the presence
of the proximity of death;
mortality hovers, frightens,
darts to take flight from my swat.

Rachel Deering.

The Lonely Fly

Looking for love?????
Must like fresh vomit,
taste with your feet.
Enjoy walking upside down
and be fond of defecting
whenever you land.

In it for the buzz.
Young and single male fly
with a zany sense of humour
and a love of travel.
Life’s short, so live a little.
No spiders need apply

PS Must lay your own eggs.

-Dai Fry

Upside Down with a Hundred Eyes

Grapes are sour in Antarctica
But we have abundant decaying
matter, all over the world a scatter
to lay our fine family eggs,

From the Order of Diptera, almost
all terrestrial habitats are ours, a
hundred eyes to see, nothing is hid
from land or sea,

The only weapon we dread is the ‘swat’
ever present by the dining table spread.
We live on a liquid diet, Ah God did not
bless us with teeth, but designed us to

Taste food with our legs and feet,we can
walk up side down, anywhere green or
brown, fear us-
Fear Us more, than Covid-19, the
dangerous part lies with the eyes in between.

We can survive all pesticides insecticides,
be a nuisance with our buzzing noises
carry diseases all around in the air, on ground
cover the fruit or food, we will find the way around.
We the flies are magnificent in minuteness.

-anjum wasim dar
Copyright CER 2020

Musca domestica

I drive you mad
I’m the least of things
cruising just out of reach
on cellophane wings

in through the keyhole
looking for meat
I walk on the ceiling
on six sticky feet

I spit on your food
I sample your beer
I shit on your lampshade
I buzz in your ear

I sit on your breakfast
and wash my face
I land on your neck
and leave a kiss

I land in your hair
you shake me out
I land on your cheek
bloody cheek you shout

I land on the baby
I land on the cot
I take off backwards
to evade the swat

I see in slow-motion
I see in the dark
I sleep on the pelmet
I’m up with the lark

I breed at great speed
to replace the dead
I’m the least of things
and I drive you mad

-Ama Bolton

specodesichneumon rhyssabittacusaprocita


day of flies, warm weather.
say what you is
my fault .
the day begins.


. flying things.

surround this area,
live inside. loving
lamps ,damp october air.
shadow, films
with out words, stuttering.
moths, yes i usually write
of moths, now long legs
come into play. outside
planes fly over, estuary
birds call. autumn.


My Millipede

I’ve never met the millipede
That lives within these walls.
From baby-steps pattering ear-filled
To stomping wheelie bin thunder above
But I’ve seen the forlorn piles of shoes
Clogging up the hall
Holding the imprint of his resolve
Believing he is owed all the odd socks
Liberated laundry rebel
When he leaves
I shall miss the perennial warm-toed thief
We’ll shake many hands
A long farewell of regal waving
Scurrying to standstill

-Kate Mattacks@mypaperskin


So this is what I’ve arrived at—this mouthful existence,
this pale-green that even breath might break. There is no sky.

Only the flatness of blood and feelers. Taut for release
is the world, a flood that will engulf even the sky.

Frog, snake and hawk—all sound the same under water. I float
a bird in the lagoon as if it were the sky.

Soon, the hungers will take me in their arms and pollen
will light everything in yellow drifts. Soon, nothing but sky.

And yet there’s nothing colder than the rooms of waiting,
told nothing, knowing nothing. It’s easier to forsake sky,

to accept this incarceration as permanent,
a cell no key may breach. I grow still as the sky.

Hour by hour even the slightest breeze can kill. Stealth
lodges in my veins, a song. There is a lowering of sky.

Time slides like sheets of rain. Inside me, something opens,
anemone of many petals. It must be the sky.

-Anindita Sengupta

Mayflies by Andres Rojas

-Andres Rojas

The centipede that liked to read

The centipede
Loved to read
From her head to her very last toe
There’s mystery afoot
One in each book
And fifty books on the go

The ladybirds
Like the words
The leeches like the pictures
The caterpillars
Like creepy thrillers
The spiders ones with witches

When the sun gets low
The glow worms glow
To light up every last word
Then she marks all the pages
(that takes her ages)
And they dream of the stories they’ve heard

-Phil Sheppard


I would melt a frozen orchid
in my mouth until it blossoms,
cradle the mosaic of a shattered
snail in my hands, fuse it whole,
breathe orbs of sunlight through
the ether to the chrysalis
of your body, turn your sickness
into strength.

But instead,
this summer afternoon, I scoop
a meniscus-flattened fly
from the bathtub, dab
the pool of wetness from around
its waterlogged remains,
blow like a miniature zephyr
until I sense
an almost imperceptible stirring,
gentle twitch of consciousness.

A single glistening
thread unpeels from human skin.
Six black legs spring
against hot pink finger,
separation of bodies,
shake of slick wings,
a moment of orientation,
suddenly flight.

This I can do
again and again,
give someone else
another chance at life.

(Anti-Heroin Chic, December 2019, Peace – Kindness – Sensitivity issue, Ed. James Diaz)

-Lucy Whitehead

Humming Tree

This Olearia:
every floret holds a hum.
Hoverfly heaven.


A midge is a fly
with a look in its eye:
here’s my itchy surprise.

-Yvonne Marjot

Amy Evans Quell

-Amy Evans Bauer

Fly Me To The Moon
(One Day in the Life of a Fly)

Born at dawn in this nightclub lounge,
I’ve got a talent that may astound.
I might be only a bug without a stinger,
But, no razzing, I’m quite a singer.
Give me Blues or Dixieland,
A little swing, I’ll swing it, Man!

And as for requests, this one’s the bomb,
Old Bart wrote well when he wrote this song.
A snappy tune worthy of sharin’
Sung also by Frankie and Bobby Darin.

(It was the first song played on the moon
by Buzz Aldrin. Hey—Buzz! Dig it, Pally!!)

So, you’ve got me, the zippy crooner
Belting out a tune that once went lunar,
Bringing out the smooch in honeymooners,
Making me feel like a floating ballooner.

So, I ain’t a poet,
Don’t I know it!

La-la-la-it’s cold up here in the air.

Wait!! Is that a lounge lizard
that just sat down in front
and is sticking out his ton..?!!!!!!

-Linda Imbler

Ode To A Katyadid

Ode To A Katydid

Katydid, your appearance beguiles —
Resembling that which does not dwell
Among the creeping.

Silent and separate from the choir,
You slowly slink beneath the sunlight as a specter,
So rare to behold.

Exquisite beauty so easily overshadowed
By the bittersweet song of your ensemble,
And so elusive to the human eye!

Katydid, bask in Summer’s glow while the sun still allows,
And when the day is done, sing your measures of
The season’s sorrowful song.

Your symphony awaits and
Your audience knows that your notes
Will yield to snowflakes and shivers before too long.

-Rachel B. Baxter (previously published in Medium)

dead houseflies
litter my windowsill
not even compound eyes
see the way out of here

Undertow Tanka Review 7, Sept/15

-Debbie Strange

wild carrots in the meadows
a horsefly settles on Queen Anne’s lace

The Asahi Shimbun

away from the crowd
estuary fireflies
and I

Creatrix 45 Haiku June 2019 Issue.

on a sultry night

Pangolin Review, Covid-19 May 2020

a fly shares
her begging-bowl

FemkuMag 2, July 2018 and
Wind Flowers – the Red Moon Anthology 2019 and

long month
the cicada’s cry
yet to arrive

Re-side Issue 3, Winter 2019

very s l o w l y
a sudden swat
misses the fly

Shot Glass Journal Issue #31 May 2020


a yellow jacket miner emerges
the secrets

A haiga in the inaugural issue of Bleached Butterfly Magazine

-Christina Chin

Bios and Links</strong

-Christina Chin

is from Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. Recently she won two of City Soka Saitama’s 2020 prizes. She is the 1st place winner of the 34th Annual Cherry Blossom Sakura
Festival 2020 Haiku Contest hosted by University of Alabama’s
Capstone International Center. Her photo-haiku won a Grand Prix Award in the 8th Setouchi Matsuyama International Contest in 2019. She is published in the multilingual Haiku Anthology (Volumes 3-5) and the International Spring Saijiki. Christina is published in Haikukai (俳句界) one of Japan’s biggest monthly haiku magazines. Her poems appear in many journals including AHS Frogpond Journal, the Red Moon Anthology, Akitsu Quarterly Journal, The Asahi Shimbun, ESUJ-Haiku, Presence, Chrysanthemum, The Cicada’s Cry, The Zen Space, Wales Haiku Journal, Prune Juice, Failed Haiku and Cattails (UHTS).
You can find Christina Chin online at WordPress: She also maintains an ongoing scheduled blog of featured and published haiku:

-Anindita Sengupta

is the author of City of Water (2010) and Walk Like Monsters (2016). Her work is in several anthologies and in Plume, Asian Cha, One, Bombay Literary Journal, High Desert Journal and others. She has been a Charles Wallace Fellow, and has received awards from TFA India and Muse India. She is from Mumbai and currently lives in Los Angeles.

-John McManus

is an award winning Haiku poet from Carlisle, Cumbria, England. He’s the author of Inside His Time Machine (Iron Press, 2016) and After The Rain (Bones, 2019)

-Rachel Deering

is a teacher who lives in Bath with a cat. She loves history, folklore, nature, science, art and literature. She has been published in a few journals and anthologies here and there. In January, 2020 Cerasus Poetry published her debut collection, ‘Crown of Eggshell’. Rachel contributes regularly to ABCTales writing under the name of onemorething.

-Rachael Ikins

Associate Editor Clare Songbirds Publishing House, Auburn NY

2020 NLAPW Biennial Letters Competition 3rd prize Childrens category

2019 Faulkner Finalist, 2019-20 Vinnie Ream semi-finalist, 2018 Independent Book Award winner (poetry), 2013, 2018 CNY Book Award nominee, 2016, 2018 Pushcart nominee

@poetreeinmoshun on Instagram

@writerraebeth on Tumblr

@nestl493 on Twitter

-Ama Bolton

is a writer, editor and book-artist and convenes a Stanza group in Somerset.

-Kate Mattacks@mypaperskin–

I’m a researcher at the University of Reading with the Stories of Ageing Project. I support therapeutic writing workshops in hospitals and prisons. Trying to write more poetry, feed 3 dogs and be more human…


writes poetry for adults and children. Her most recent publication is THE CORONA COLLECTION – A CONVERSATION. Cheryl’s website is

=Andres Rojas

is the author of the chapbook Looking for What Isn’t There (Paper Nautilus Press Debut Series Winner, 2019) and the audio-only chapbook The Season of the Dead (EAT Poems, 2016). His poetry has been featured in the Best New Poets series and has appeared in, among others, AGNI, Barrow Street, Colorado Review, Massachusetts Review, New England Review, and Poetry Northwest.

-Yvonne Marjot

-FIona Pitt-Kethley

is the author of more than 20 books published by Chatto, Abacus, Salt, Peter Owen and others. SHe lives in Spain.

is a lost kiwi, now living on a Scottish island. She has been making up stories and poems for as long as she can remember. Her first volume of poetry, The Knitted Curiosity Cabinet, won the Brit Writers Award for poetry in 2012. She loves her job, running a small public library, and has published four novels and a book of short stories. Twitter handle: @alayanabeth

-sonja benskin mesher

born , Bournemouth.


lives and works in North Wales
as an independent artist

‘i am a multidisciplinary artist, crafting paint, charcoal, words and whatever comes to hand, to explain ideas and issues

words have not come easily. I draw on experience, remember and write. speak of a small life’.

Elected as a member of the Royal Cambrian Academy and the United Artists Society
The work has been in solo exhibitions through Wales and England, and in selected and solo worldwide.
Much of the work is now in both private, and public collections, and has been featured in several television documentaries, radio
programmes and magazines.

Here is my interview of sonja benskin mesher:

-Ian Seed’s

latest collection of poetry is Operations of Water (Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, 2020). His collection of prose poems, The Underground Cabaret, will be published by Shearsman in autumn 2020.

-Phil Sheppard

is a writer and illustrator from Doncaster. A former primary school teacher, he is currently working as Doncaster’s Senior Project Officer for the National Literacy Trust. His website is

4 thoughts on “National Insect Week Poetry Challenge: Take part with Colin Dardis, Laura McKee, Kate Mattacks@mypaperskin, Cheryl Moskovitz, Phil Sheppard, Andres Rojas, sonja benskin mesher, Ankh Spice, Ian Seed, Amy Evans Bauer, Yvonne Marjot, Ama Bolton, Debbie Strange, Rachel Deering, Ama Bolton, John McManus, Claudia Serea, Linda Imbler, Anjum Wasir Dar, Judi Sutherland, Dai Fry and myself. Monday: Dragonflies, Tuesday: Wasps And Bees, Wednesday: Ants, Thursday: Beetles, Friday: Butterflies, Saturday: Moths, Sunday: Flies and sundry insects. Email me and I will add yours to my daily WordPress posts, also posted to Twitter and Facebook. This is the final day , but you can still add to all the posts already published. Here are today’s: Flies and other sundry insects

  1. Please accept my entry to the Bug poetry competition.

    But Butterflies Are Pretty.

    Half the people who have ever lived have been
    killed by insects.

    Your insults betray your loathing-
    with mealy mouthed metaphor,
    and spiteful simile.

    Stop bugging me!
    You make my flesh crawl and my skin creep,
    You are a parasite, a blood sucking leech,
    You are as insignificant as an ant,
    as low as a centipede’s belly.
    Your words sting, your thoughts are poisonous,
    You speak with a forked tongue
    You dirty cockroach.

    Your actions speak louder
    as you squish and squash,
    and burn and scald.
    As you trap and flush
    and swat and stamp-
    the crunch of a carapace,
    as black and brittle as bakelite
    sounds death under your shoe.
    Smudges of blood like crimson comets
    fleck the collar of a crisp, white shirt

    So poison us with powder and spray,
    capture us with tape and trap.
    Get the net and the pins, the chloroform and the display case.
    don’t think we won’t fight back because
    we are the survivors-
    through the ages of
    ice and fire and ooze,
    through dead, grey skies
    and rivers of sulphur

    Together we are an army,
    a swarm, a plague.
    We can unleash epidemics,
    kill without discrimination.
    Flying, creeping assassins,
    writhing, suppurating things that will
    feast on your rotting flesh.

    And if you succeed in eradicating us
    who will till your soil and
    pollinate your plants?
    Who will recycle the world’s waste?
    Chains will break and webs will snap.

    An insect Armageddon.

  2. Pingback: National Insect Week Poetry Challenge: Take part with Laura McKee, Andres Rojas, sonja benskin mesher, Ankh Spice, Ian Seed, Yvonne Marjot, Ama Bolton, Debbie Strange, Rachel Deering, Ama Bolton, John McManus, Claudia Serea, Linda Imbler, Anjum Wasir Dar,

  3. Pingback: An Ongoing List Of My Natural World Artwork And Poetry Challenge Links | The Wombwell Rainbow

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