(Fabre in his laboratory)

Here’s a city   - roars & rushes -
( place of hoodlums    molls    gangsters ).

GOD in straw hat
( BUDDHA    crosslegged?)
stares in contemplation.

Magnificent butterflies scurry in line with his eyebrows...
Darkly scarlet beetles crookedly make a T with his nose...
Ants triumphantly bundle nestward
wasps    flies    grubs . . .

He sits solid as a tree
- BAKED & half-blinded by the sun -
- watching, measuring . . .
Above his head
close to his ear
a dozen cicadas
drum LOUD messages

† The name given in Provence to an untilled, pebbly expanse ... a hunting-ground for bees, wasps & a huge population of insects.

‡‘I see them [The cicadas] ranged in rows on the smooth
bark of the plane-trees… Whether drinking or moving
they never cease singing.’


Fabre says ‘For forty years I longed to have a piece of rough  ground; a  sunscorched desolate bit, overgrown with thistles, a mass of weeds, & with plenty of boulders, small stones, sand, & crowded with wasps, bees, ants flies of all kinds - an oven-hot city, a miniature theatre & marketplace, endlessly fascinating...'

It seems natural to suppose that in the next 40 years if Fabre failed to uncover any of their secrets the insects themselves must have hastened to inform him.