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Cockroaches (A verse for George Beccaloni)
Stella M. Turk MBE


Archy the cockroach, poet


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.



Authors notes


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

September 2007