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August, 1976.

I remember a biblical and doomed August;
Long frenzied days of fire and drought.
Then vast plagues of ladybirds, swarming,

Whilst we idled on holiday, descending
Starved upon sleepy Lincoln seaside towns,
Upon that squealing spinster in Skegness

Rash in her bright sunflower yellow dress;
To see crazed arms slap at infested space,
Bolting like swine through Gerasene tombs.

Safe indoors, we scoffed tepid ice cream,
Spying red faced men wander dazed
A lorn North Parade, to sweep, to shovel,

Hopeless the peril roasting upon bonfires,
Down the mouth of parched storm drains.

Style / type: 
Free verse
Review Request (Intensity): 
I appreciate moderate constructive criticism
Editing stage: 


I remember it well, we travelled down to Plymouth in a hired car, there we boarded a massive ship of the line called Ocean, then we spent 10 days looking for bad weather from Plymouth to the Isle of Skye, just reminded me of that trip, all those days and the sea was like a mirror.. Good Pay though lol.
Your piece could be tidier but I guess it is free form which I write so I cant and wont complain.
Take care and keep writing,
Yours Ian.T

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Unconditional love to you all.
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Yours as always, Ian.T, Sparrow, and Yenti

but can imagine from the descriptions you give. Only thing I see, is that you have capitalized every line, which you needn't. Or shouldn't, because there are lines that are obviously part of the same sentence, which kind of makes the rhythm feel stilted. I think that you could do without the last two lines or expand them to make sense of the thoughts. Is it along or alone North Parade? ~ Geezer.

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I was not aware of the lady bug event and looked it up. I think your poem is written well, and really can add anything except, perhaps, one last thought to connect this event of Biblical proportions with some other apocalyptic like event...either personal or other, or a foreboding of things to come...taking the poem out of the descriptive to a larger statement...

as far as the caps, I am on the other team. I cap, and agree with Alberto Rios why:•to remind myself that I am writing a poem;

•to underscore to myself the integrity of the line, which is after all what distinguishes poetry from all other literary genres;
•to connect myself to history for a very brief moment before I go on to say what I myself have to say now;
•to give each line--however subtle--its own authority;
•to suggest that, although I may be telling a story, it is not a regular story, and certainly not prose;
•to make my enjambment have to work honestly, and to give my end-stopped lines greater Moment;
•to build up thoughtful pacing in a poem, suggesting or invoking a little more strongly all the reasons we break lines to begin with--breath, heartbeat, dramatic intention;
•to recognize this use of the shift key as a self-conscious act, which raises the stakes for everyone and everything--the poem, the poet, and the reader;
•to do more work in this small moment, knowing that work makes more things happen;
•to rhyme--that is, to use this recurring, predictable device of capitalization in the ways that poems have often used many devices, such as rhyme, to give structure and sensibility to the poem; knowing that I'm going to capitalize the first word in each line gives all my poems at least some rudimentary structure;
•to understand that a poem cannot be contained--rather, it launches outward and away from what we know; that is, capitalizing the first letter of a line can be predicted and controlled ahead of time, but that's all that can be controlled, so that the poem, each line of the way, is launched, and this launching, this kicking away from the shore of the left margin is always an act of power, imagination, and adventure.

So keep caping. For the above reasons, it feels right to me too, and we are in the majority if you take a survey of the poetry published in major publications and major poets.


I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

Yes it was a remarkable event which I remember well, especially our holiday in Lincolnshire, really right in the eye of the storm. Experts reckon the country especially the east coast was invaded by perhaps 26 billion ladybirds.

Thanks for taking time to read, especially Eumoplus for your particular advice.

author comment

actually I have a collection of poems about lady bugs, about how children play with them and light natured ideas, but one section is :

We prayed to the Queen of Heaven
To save our crops.
She sent a cloud of red pebbles
With angel wings;
Soon they devoured
The tiny mites killing our field.
We named them for our Lady.

I the middle ages the mites were causing starvation and after prayers to Mary the bugs arrived to save them and were so named. How ironic that they staged a full scale locust attack on England that year.
as second part of the series:

Scientists study the origami
Of the ladybugs wings;
Like cellophane sails
Tucked in so ingeniously;
They vibrate a hundred times
Each second, and go 40 MPH,
Non-stop, NY to Boston.

quite amazing.

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

Thank you Geezer for reading and yes LORN is the correct word,
meaning desolate and abandoned. And it largely was as people fled or stayed away, and men dealt with the menace sweeping the bugs away down drains or shovelling them upon smoking bonfires.
Thank you.

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