Fear of Wasps
You dragged me down
the winding lanes where sun
and salty sweat burned hands and face.
I recall the taste of berries,
plucked with bloodied fingers
from the spiteful branches of brambles,
then burst delicious
in between a tender tongue and palate.
The juice of fruit and maggot blended
sharply sweet and over-spilled my lips
and chin in streams of sticky dribble, attracting
the interest of tenacious wasps
which you swatted, and chided me
in hissy whispers, 'Be still, child! - don't yell -
don't even breathe - they sense your fear.'
You gave them supernatural powers.
'Still as a statue, or they'll sting you.'
And I believed; stood rock still
until the wasps lost interest, like me
when I went off blackberries, and for years
feigned love of rambling, until one day,
I saw that after all, I am the rambler.
It's only you that's missing, and life's wasps
having extra sensory perception, still notice
my fear. But I'm long past standing still -
these days I yell blue-faced and breathe
like mad; flail my arms about my head -
an ape gone crazed. And when all else fails,
I run like hell. From everything.