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The Lone Katydid
Martin J. Elster


I vividly remember,
on the evening when September
had slid into October,
the air as cold and sober
as The Dipper’s glittering light,
from somewhere high amid
an oak, a katydid
spoke from a dying leaf:
“Autumn is a thief!
With a single wintry gust
it turned my kin to dust.  
Why do I rattle on
when all of them are gone,
when I’ll soon be toothsome prey
for some bat, or when the bite
of another cold snap brings
icy shackles to my wings?”
The insect’s doleful tones
seemed to quiver all my bones.
What could you tell a bug
to soothe it? With a shrug,
I continued on my way
down that trail as dim and shady
as a blackbird’s dusky hue,
and wondered if that katy did
or didn’t have a clue
that he had been listened to.

© by Martin J. Elster.
Used with the author’s permission.


Martin J. Elster lives in Hartford, Connecticut. He was, for many years, a percussionist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. In addition to playing and composing music, Martin finds contentment in long walks in the woods or the city and in writing poetry, which often alludes to creatures and plants he encounters on his walks. Martin’s poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies in the U.S. and abroad.


Post New Comment:
Wilda Morris:
Very clever and well-written!
Posted 10/03/2022 11:24 AM
Lori Levy:
Interesting perspective. I like it!
Posted 09/30/2022 04:05 PM
Good one!!!
Posted 09/30/2022 11:30 AM
Darrell Arnold:
Isn't it interesting that we feel a need to contemplate the lives of bugs. What are they doing? Why are they doing it? What are they aware of? What not? Their lives are so short, but, maybe not so short, if you live in a bug world. I like Martin's poem. It inspires much more contemplation in an interesting sequence of rhymes.
Posted 09/30/2022 10:16 AM
I am feeling the transition today saying both good-bye and hello.
Posted 09/30/2022 09:28 AM
Hartford was home to Wallace Stevens (118 Weatherly Terrace) who also took long walks. Maybe he also heard the katydids singing their songs. Clever poem, nice rhyming sequence.
Posted 09/30/2022 09:16 AM
Very reminiscent of Edgar Alan Poe.
Posted 09/30/2022 08:39 AM
Larry Schug:
Small thing loom large in this poem of a philosophical katydid. Of course, it speaks to the human condition also. Also this is a very visual poem that places the reader inside it.
Posted 09/30/2022 08:20 AM
Oh, so not surprising, that you are a percussionist, the rhythm of this lovely poem has me hearing the "katy-did katy-did katy-did" I am an amateur African drum enthusiast - and my hands can even feel it!! Thank you Martin
Posted 09/30/2022 07:58 AM

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