My Black Beetle - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich
A hand reached out
something inside prevented
the kindly act intended.
The beetle, he continued though,
with frantic, futile moves
yet it was not to be.
Flat on his chitin back,
shiny and smooth, too smooth,
forever rolling, and sometimes sliding,
now making tiny noises, of incongruity.
I wished him then, quite fervently,
an obstacle which would permit
by inborn true stability of character,
the rescue so essential for survival.
The minutes passed, the sun
now having lost all interest
in watching fruitless struggle,
soon took the evening's leave,
a frigid wind with promises of rain
swept leaves and dust
in endless circles to and fro,
I thought of Anton Mesmer
and his silly passes, both arms
he used them with such earnestness,
first drops fell from a neutral sky
where masters of the universe reside,
yet one black beetle still remained,
left to his own incompetent devices.
You'll drown, an inner voice began to chant,
to him as well, he knew about his fate
life-giving drops would fill his belly soon
and like a bomb he would explode
leaving a mess of jellied black
and not a single memory behind.
Decision made, I reached
into this low-life's mad inferno,
when, with a vulgar shriek
a gust, with leisure on its wings,
raced through as on a mission,
upright, exhausted legs alive
he stood and looked me in the eye,
with tears of gratitude as if to say
perhaps I will, one day repay the deed,
it must have been the blindness
of capitulation, a pinhead brain
committing all resources to the end.
If Gods are willing, may there be
a helpful hand, if not a friendly breeze
for all the beetles in their time of need.
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