This week we feature a new poem by Annette Wong playing with the story of the ant and the grasshopper, in response to the theme of Fools and Proverbs 13:18-20:
Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame,
but whoever heeds correction is honored.
A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul,
but fools detest turning from evil.
Walk with the wise and become wise,
for a companion of fools suffers harm.
Entomology (the ant and the grasshopper)
by Annette Wong
Fall: there was time, still, after
a summer squandered in song.
The scythes still whistled
the fruit still hung—so he danced
after the cicadas had gone.
And as she had, all summer long
tried to warn (he paid no heed)
with jaws clenched, mined
what she could, what she had
What more could she do?
We know how the story goes: winter.
A first frost. A rattling wind.
No grass, no song, no swarm (one
is the loneliest locust).
Hobbling now, at her nest’s foot
His feeble shrill. Silence. And then—
an antennae’s twitch (her knowing
look) that all familiar
refrain: “Don’t say
I didn’t tell you so.”
From the Artist:
As I was thinking about Proverbs 13:18-20 I was reminded of fables my mother read to me when I was young. Fables, like Proverbs, teach and correct. One of the most fabled fools in my memory of Aesop’s tales is the idle grasshopper, who fails to prepare for winter. Despite the urging of his friend, the ant, the grasshopper piddles his summer away. His days are sweet, filled with song and dance but when winter comes, he’s left to freeze on his rickety hind legs with nothing to eat. Some of the hardest words to stomach are “I told you so.” A fool is someone who needs telling so. Or is told so but chooses not to listen.
Annette Wong is a 2008 Poetry VONA-ite under the tutelage of Suheir Hammad. She was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Beijing and Hong Kong. She received her B.A. in History and International Studies from Yale University, where she was a member of Jook Songs, Yale’s Asian American Writing and Performance Group. In 2007-08 Annette was a part of New Life Fellowship Church’s Writers’ Group where she had the good fortune of meeting Emily Ruth Hazel. She currently resides in Los Angeles, where she practices civil rights law.
This poem was curated by Emily Ruth Hazel.
Poem is copyrighted by the artist and used here by permission.