Ph: Farm: Why Fireflies Dance Poem by Brian Johnston

Ph: Farm: Why Fireflies Dance

Rating: 5.0

Pausing on a late trip to South Dakota
I pulled off of the highway
Somewhere in Kansas
And shut off the lights
Reflecting that it might be good
To clear the windshield of bug carcasses
That were only being smeared
Into a thin, barely transparent paste
By my windshield wipers at this stage.

As my eyes became used to the moonlit hollow
Where my vehicle purred quietly
I began to realize something was strange.
There were stars dancing that night
Whose light had never been
Gathered by a telescope,
A job, better left perhaps,
To a wide-eyed child with a ‘Ball Jar' & lid,
Than to a scientist living behind thick lenses.

Opening the car door, revelation struck,
Though alone in the dark, God was with me.
The valley in which I'd parked
Was teeming with more fireflies
Than I had ever seen
In the entirety of my uneventful life.
Even in the stupor of mechanical driving
I realized that by chance I had discovered
What might just be the ‘eighth wonder of the world.'
The air was full of ecstasy
And my impoverished heart simply enchanted.

The fireflies in their mating frenzy
Made the full moon seem
The victim of an incredible meteor shower,
Flashes of light exploding on lunar surface
As each projectile ended its journey,
This illusion blurred only slightly
By less ambitious brothers and sisters
Whose ardor blotted out the milky way
Stretching horizon to horizon
As they flashed the opposite sex.

Still, all in all, it was quite a show.
These moon striking invertebrates,
Faux-astronauts though they were,
(Unlike us, leaving no debris behind to litter)
Giving up their tiny ghosts over and over,
Adding a buggy visual pun to the night
Clearly suggesting, that in romance at least,
All of us experience multiple crash landings.

Friday, February 14, 2014
Topic(s) of this poem: nature,travel
Brian Johnston
February 14,2014
This poem is dedicated to my honorary God-Daughter (who is perhaps the 9th wonder of the world in my life right now) , the upcoming poet Neethu Panicker right here on Poem Hunter, and my friends Lora Colon, Ed Nigma, and Tapan Pradhan for their much valued support and comments. A psychic once told me that I had been St. Valentine in a previous lifetime. Don't suppose she will like this poem much! But just in case I was, I wish all my PH family a great Valentines day.

And also a note of appreciation to the group Sixpence None The Richer and their song 'Kiss Me' which contains the line 'Strike up the band and make the fireflies dance until the moon is sparkling.' This line and my personal experience are both at the heart of this poem.
Valsa George 14 February 2014

This is such a beautiful poem Brian....! I could relate to the scene described here... I too have seen thousands of fireflies on a clear night by the side of a valley and I thought the heavens had fallen down with a million stars! As you say... 'it was quite a show'. For this great write, you definitely deserve a 10

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Brian Johnston 18 February 2014

Dear Readers, You do the math. Last night I added 2 new poems to my Poem Hunter site, 'Ode to a Feather' and 'What a Pair! ' This morning when I woke up both this poem 'Why Fireflies Dance' which had previously received 3 scores of 10 and my two new poems had each received 4 scores of 1.0 each. To do this, as I understand it, would mean that people from four different e-mail addresses had discovered my poems on the same evening, had a violent reaction to them (because they are such trash) , and feel compelled to actually vote them as negatively as possible. That seems highly unlikely to me. This poem, 'Fireflies..', for example, last night, had a score of 30 with 3 votes, this morning it has a score of 34 with 7 votes. This gives it an average score of 4.9. My suspicion is that the 4 votes of 1.0 all came from one member. Of course, I can't prove it. This is just a suspicion. But personally if this person is using multiple email addresses to act maliciously toward either a poem or a poet, I think this reflects badly on his character. Surely integrity would dictate 1 person 1 vote don't you think? If these actions are due to just one person alone then he has multiplied his malfeasance by four. And I say shame on you Sir! This just in. In a new letter, also attached to this poem, this person admitted/claimed that he and a group of others have taken it upon themselves to clean up the PoemHunter website by voting down any poet/poem they happen not to like. One of my latest poems mentioned above actually collected 6 ratings of 1.0 in the first 12 hours of its posting before I blocked the voting on it as well. (Please check my poems out for yourself and see if you think any of my poems can be fairly rated a 1.0. Some of you know who this person is and if you want to keep tabs on his rather bizarre rantings against me I refer you to his 'poetry' site though my intention is simply to ignore him in the future. I still suspect he is a one man show and not a 'Gang of 6' as he might like us to believe. In any case, if there are others with him they have all been too cowardly so far to criticize any of my poems except anonymously. For those who do like my poems and/or who want to offer critical comments, please do, I welcome such offerings. If you wish to rate a poem from 1-10 in your commentary I will let that stand too if it seems clear that your intent is to help me grow as a poet, and not a simple expression of your hatred for others who rub you the wrong way.

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Susan Lacovara 19 February 2014

It is still a favorite rite of summer, to watch for the sprinkling of fireflies light...returns my heart to childhood wonder..and relish in God's perfect might.... what an illuminating write, thank you for your creativity and clever colorful imagery. PEACE

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Archana Kapoor Nagpal 21 February 2014

I really liked it! Heart-felt and mesmerising in all the ways!

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L MILTON HANKINS 07 September 2020

What a wonderful, awe-inspiring poem from your personal experience. Well written and deserving of a large readership. Thanks for sharing it with me.

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John Beaton 15 September 2018

Hi, Brian. An evocative poem. It reminded me of a couple of things: Richard Wilbur's Mayflies poem, and a night on a glass-calm remote inlet where perfect darkness was lit up by raindrops striking the water and causing bursts of bioluminescence. Some experiences are so beautiful they're hard to express in words. Your poem achieves that pretty well.

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Brian Johnston 15 September 2018

Thanks John! Comparing my work to Richard Wilbur is high praise indeed to me! He is one of my most favorite poets. You might take a look at my poem PH: College: Love of ______ that was a college attempt to honor his poem Love Calls Us To The Things Of This World I hope you like it too!

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Kim Barney 08 November 2015

What an experience! I've lived a long time but have never seen a firefly, at least not that I can remember. I think I used to have a good memory, but can't remember for sure.

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Abekah Emmanuel 22 September 2014

Great piece of work. i enjoyed your style of narration....Poetic experience at display.... well written!

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Daniel Brick 11 July 2014

wha What a wonder-filled poem, Brian! ! From the first line to the end I was captivated by this NATURAL display of beauty AND your commentary on its significance in human terms. The pacing of the poem is admirable, and it benefits from such pacing so that each sections brings us new delights and appreciation and also a cumulative joy which cinches the poetic vision we have witnessed. An experience like this is the antidote for despair and/or boredom which so many in the world today use to excuse their lack of delight and gratitude. THEY need your poem in the most urgent manner. Then they will relax into WONDER and HOPE, and be saved....

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