Two Bugologues



Onto a wall in chilly gloom
I fold myself, all silk and dust,
and then, from half across the room,
the candle flickers: Come. You must.

I am well past my crawling days
when, wingless, I thought only of
my next mealtime. Now, nothing stays
my course to light, to beauty, love.

Around that lambent Lorelei
closer and closer, almost free
of midnight stasis, I see why
these wings at last were given me.

The light grows brighter, hotter. Soon
I slough off night, that dark cocoon.


I had bad dreams all night, and when
I woke up, found myself transformed
Into a monstrous thing, with chin
And teeth, two leggèd and two armed.

What’s this, I asked myself, a dream?
No dream. I lay and tried to think.
All was familiar. But the seam
I slept in, underneath the sink,

Was far too narrow for me now.
How could I wriggle out? At last,
Contorting and in pain, somehow
I managed. But, that trial passed,

I had to move, to feed and forage
As always, and what would they say,
My friends, the bugs? I summoned courage
And set out on my upright way.




a bird word

I’m perky and small, I sing dee-dee-dee,
My flock is one pulsing, flittery thing,
Within which it makes no difference to me
Whether upright I perch or upside-down cling.

If you see a small tree seem to shake on its own
As if all of its leaves were astir in a breeze
Though the air is dead-calm, we’ve made ourselves known,
The bringers of warm, feathered motion to trees.



Donald Mace Williams is a retired newspaper writer and editor with a Ph.D. in Beowulfian prosody. His latest books are “Wolfe and Being Ninety”  (February 2023) and “The Nectar Dancer” (August 2023). He lives in Austin, Texas.

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10 Responses

  1. jd

    Loved al three beginning with the title for the first. It’s amazing how you have put your mind into the characters of two bugs. The Chickadee poem is excellent too. Thank you for the lift.

  2. Roy Eugene Peterson

    Interesting poems with unconventional perspectives. They were fun to read and contemplate.

  3. Bruce J PEARL

    I particularly liked Cockroach: it’s both poetic while employing a verse form. Forgive a suggestion: in the next to last line, saying “the bugs” is unnecessary: both he and we know that his friends are bugs. Moreover, if you cut those two words and add an “up the”:
    My friends? I summoned up the courage
    it still scans.

  4. Shamik Banerjee

    Three excellent pieces here! The rhythm of the first piece is very gentle. I love your creativity in the second poem and the message in the third (and, of course, the dee-dee-dee). Thank you for these beautiful poems.

  5. Paul A. Freeman

    Loved them all Donald, but …. Kafkaesque, or cockroachesque? The Cockroach is amazing. It’s a poem I wish I’d written.

    Thanks for the read.

  6. Mary Gardner

    Donald, you have turned “The Metamorphosis” on its head. I hope you’ll pen a sequel.
    All three poems stand well on their own, but placing them as you did intensifies the spookiness of “Cockroach.”

  7. James A. Tweedie

    Ditto Re the creative revamp of Kafka. I suppose your riff is intended as fictional humor or parody but, sadly, from where I stand it appears as there are more metamorphosed cockroaches walking about than one might think. And many of them seem to have gravitated towards political or bureaucratic positions—ironically in unintentional validation of Kafka.

    Well done all.

  8. Margaret Coats

    A Japanese older woman’s bad dream is “gyokiburi fufu,” the tiresome cockroach of a retired husband always in the kitchen and never wanted there. She might enjoy your humanoid twist, hoping that he and insect friends take the hint and get out! The moth poem is an amazingly attractive explanatory note for a suicide idyll , and the chickadee a lovable perky picture. Much appreciated, Donald.

  9. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Donald, I simply adore your “Two Bugologues” and admire the way you slip into the moth and cockroach persona to breathe into them a new and unusual dimension with striking imagery… and your mellifluous “Chickadee” is an absolute joy to read. Thank you!


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