Cockroaches (A verse for George Beccaloni)
Stella M. Turk MBE
Cockroaches are not very fat
Indeed they are quite flat
And can survive stamping
As well as trampling.
Most things are eaten with zeal
Whilst they rarely form a tasty meal.
Humans serve as an exception
When taking them as medication.
Being very fast breeders
And non specialist feeders
After 300 million years
Of sweat and tears!
4,000 species have been discovered
With just as many undiscovered.
They come in all sizes
And colour guises
A few that hale from warmer cli-mates*
Have become unwelcome housemates
Our three natives live on their own
Leaving mankind strictly alone.
Some are social and care for their young:
Their stories are many and mostly unsung
So next time you squash one
Think of their history and
- think what you’ve done.
Written after hearing George Beccaloni speak eloquently about cockroaches in a 15 minute programme devoted to these ancient and enterprising insects on BBC Radio 4 on 3 September 2007. I followed this up by looking on Google for details of ‘Archy the cockroach, poet’ made famous by Don Marquis in the early years of the 20th Century. To my amazement I found an extensive bibliography of cockroach verses!
*Th is poetic licence at its crudest!
Stella M Turk MBE
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