#52weeksofnaturepoetry, Poetry

#52weeksofnaturepoetry Week 20 – Ladybirds and Harlequins

A red pin rests on a board of greenery, tucked in so snug it can only be seen from a certain angle; by chance, that’s where I’m standing. The breeze rattles the branches as I stoop to identify:

Is it? Could it be?

Cherry wing casings, dark head, three black dots on either side, one split between. A true seven-spot!

Years have passed since I’ve seen any in person (though they peppered my childhood generously), and yes, perhaps I’ve been particularly unlucky until now, for they are about. But often, they’re shunted aside by rowdy bullies, such as the non-native harlequins.

While just as striking, the harlequins guzzle and gulp down aphids all day long. Voracious eaters, they leave little to spare, and our humble ladybirds regularly find themselves wanting – and then where do they go?

I’ve heard they stay in bug hotels, grand establishments set up in wild gardens. Surrounded by local species; glorious bushes, trees, shrubs; these little havens sound delightful, the perfect places for a touch of respite.

This poem is part of a project I’m doing to raise money for the RSPB, a UK wildlife conservation and protection charity. Being autistic, nature is often my only place of solace, and I want to do all I can to protect it. As I’m not very comfortable around other people, most of the standard ways of helping out (volunteering, ‘traditional’ fundraisers etc.) were not a good fit for me, so I came up with #52weeksofnaturepoetry, where I have to post a nature poem here on this blog each week for an entire year without fail.

If you’d like to help, please share this poem to encourage others to take joy in nature, and if you have the time and means to donate, you can do so here. Let’s help keep our wildlife wild!


And now they are joining me for yoga

I saw you in that traditional place –

the bathtub –

small and crawling,

trying ever more feverishly to cling to the sides.

But every eight steps saw you slip and fall;

I could bear to watch it no more.


With shaking hands I picked you up,

placed you on the windowsill

and said farewell.


I thought no more of you

until a cousin

hitched a ride on my leg.

It was hot and the ground warm,

so I suppose I was the logical choice.


Transportation in a breeze.


And more recently, another friend

of yours

joined in with my morning yoga;

my back arched in cobra position

and they splayed out fully.

I wondered who would win.


Sensing my surprise, they scurried away.


I thought that was the end of the visits,

but in writing this,

approval had to be met,

so on the wind came another


to notate the ink

with swift legs.