(Photo © Eskimo)

The Grasshopper

I sit in the shadow of winter,
A stone resting against the trunk of an old oak tree,
Around me the wind scatters and mixes leaves with dandelion seeds,
The air is still warm with a hint of the coming chill,
Here autumn and earth embrace me,
Unmovable and trapped in the oak’s ever-expanding trunk,
There is a flurry of activity taking place over by the anthill,
Above me the birds fly south,
Below me the worms and grubs dig in against the inevitable snow,
All summer the squirrels worked like devils to get every last acorn,
And whatever they didn’t get the deer and the woodpeckers got,
Somehow the grasshopper that sits on me now managed to survive the summer,
Sitting atop me like a king on his throne,
He seems so carefree and lazy when compared to everything else around us,
But in truth he was never meant to survive the winter,
The fact that he has lived this long marks him as a credit to his race,
For surely the unlearned and the unwise will mark him for death unjustly,
And in his death, upon the advent of the first snow, they will no doubt hold him up as an example of foolish and wasteful sloth,
Still he has outrun the shrew and the robin,
Survived the spider’s web and the farmer’s poison,
Lived through the heat and the grass fires of summer,
Fought off rival males and sown the seed of next year’s locust plague,
His time and work are over,
Yet there he sits like a smiling fool upon my head,
And but for the coming season I should like to think his happy throne would stand in this world forever.

© David R. DeBo