The Hogarth Experiment Part 7 - Poem by David Harris
The first streaks for dawn
broke across the Wye Valley.
The Armoured Flamethrowers were poised
around the giant wasps nest.
Just as the sky began to lighten,
pushing away the darkness of the night
the first wasp climbed from the nest.
Long spouts of flame poured over it.
As its body was engulfed in flame
out of the nest, more wasps swarmed.
Suddenly the sky darkened again.
Several RAF bases were scrambled.
Spitfires and Hurricanes crowded the skies.
This time the enemy
was not the Luftwaffe, but insects.
The pilots where not sure what tactics
they were to use
or how the insects were going to react.
They swooped low down the valley
just skimming the treetops.
Then suddenly they were confronted with the enemy.
They peeled off in different directions choosing a target.
The manoeuvrability of the insects was unexpected.
They swerved, dived, hovered
and even seem to reverse.
Several tried to sting the aircrafts.
As more and more the wasps were shot down,
more replaced them.
Several of the aircraft crashed
as more than one wasp landed on them.
Spouts of fames stretched into the sky
from the flamethrowers below.
A second wave of aircraft
flew into the affray,
they seemed to be swarmed by wasps.
Several of the pilots few upwards
drawing a number of the wasps with them.
Aircraft and wasps darted around
the crowed sky in arial combat never before witnessed.
Hundreds of wasps fell from the sky
and were quickly replaced by hundreds more.
As the aircraft began running short of fuel,
they few away from the fight
and others were brought in.
On the ground, the Armoured Flamethrowers
were being attacked as well.
The wasps crawled over the machines
trying to find a way in.
Smoke began to rise from the nest
as more and more wasps lifted into the air.
Quite a number were met
by long stems of flames that engulfed their bodies.
Several with their bodies still alight rose
and smashed into oncoming aircraft
and both plummeted to the ground.
A black cloud from the burning
nest and corpses of the insects rose high above the valley.
Hour after hour, they fought
before the number of wasps decreased.
After six hours, the fight was over.
Bodies of wasps littered the fields
where cattle once grazed.
The RAF flew the length and breath of the valley
to ensure that there were no surviving giant wasps.
Soldiers with flamethrowers walked over the fields
burning every wasp they came across.
None was to be left alive.
The nest had a constant jet of flame poured into it.
When ever it seemed that the fames was going out
gallons of petrol was tipped down the hole of the nest
and the flamethrowers ignited it.
All through the night
and late into the following day
the process was kept up.
They could not afford a
ny eggs or any of the queens to survive.
Finally, it was over.
The charred remains of the wasp’s corpses
were buried in deep pit.
A week after the battle was over
only small scars on the landscape were noticeable.
A year later there were no traces
of what had happened there in the summer of 1945
and life in the Wye Valley returned to normal.
Professor Hogarth sat in his favourite chair
and watched his garden begin to grow again.
Several times, he could have sworn
he thought he saw shadows.
He put them down to his imagination.
Although this has been, a work of fiction of which he hopes the readers has derived some pleasure in reading. I wish to leave everyone with this thought. As the world is increasing yearly in population. More and more plants are being genetically modified to increase crop yields. As insects feed off plants and other insects feed off them. One can never tell if the genetic structure of those insects will, itself be modified. We know that it takes generations for species to mutate. What we do not know is whether they are mutating now somewhere in the world. Which leaves us with the question. What if?
David Verdun Harris
6 November 2007
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