When I was a child, I used to watch rain beetles struggling across puddles of water left after the rain. It would take ages for a beetle to get back to dry land. Sometimes, one or the other of us would drop a blade of grass into the water and the beetle would instantly seize upon it and use it but blade of grass or no blade of grass, they never gave up. Their hard shell like backs were this most beautiful glittering blue.
Like a blue iridescent rain beetle
Struggling across a puddle of water,
They tried to set up camp
In the middle of an ocean.
Storms battered them,
Winds drowned them,
Sweeping their tent onto the sand
Where they huddled, trembling,
Watching silent movies of people hurrying
Across the canvas.
Sometimes reaching out a hand
To grab an elbow. And missing.
Sometimes sticking out a foot
To trip the hurrying image up,
Meaning to catch them. But failing.
Yet the sea was always singing
Of the sunsets it had seen,
Of moonlight glittering,
Of all the places it had been visiting,
But, especially, of how the cold, clear water
Was perfect for paddling.
Until, tiny splash by tiny splash,
Like little iridescent rain beetles
Fearlessly crossing a puddle of water,
They were, at the last, swimming.
© Gwen Grant