They’ve a fossil record
two hundred and twenty million years.
Small, flighty beings
with uniquely faceted eyes.
Zings of colour
punctuating ponds and wetlands,
exclamation marks zipping
from one spot to the next
as if they possess
the key to portal travel,
hidden somewhere on their slender abdomens
or in the creases
of their complex, veined wings.
Often confused with their damsel cousins,
whose comparatively petite bodies
glitter and spark just as bright.
But here’s a note
for telling these Odonata apart:
when it comes to good rest,
damsels prefer folded wings –
no need to take up all the room
on those stems.
Though should it turn to a matter
of combat in flight,
you can be sure it’s a dragon;
damsels think little of brawls.
This poem is part of a project I’m doing to raise money for the RSPB, a UK wildlife conservation and protection charity. 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!