Crickets by Sue Owen

Some summer nights you
can hear them getting all
worked up over this idea
of cheerfulness and song.

Deep in the grasses where
they hide, there is a need
to be heard in the darkness,
even if their voices are

so small they sound
like a door creaking on
its hinge, or the squeak
a drawer makes when

it opens up at last.
It seems as if the damp
air and dew are trying
to hold their song down

out of sheer gravity,
but neither dampness nor
darkness makes them stop.
In fact, the crickets like

to show off their song,
to let it lift up off
the earth the way that
all notes rise to the stars,

and float up through the
thick night, as if their
joy itself were the only light
we needed to follow.

Crickets

I’ve been falling asleep to the rhythmic sound of crickets responding to the nighttime heat. At times the sound seems steady, then a tiny pause before resuming; at times it grows in volume, then drops to a faint chorus. I’ve read that by counting the number of chirps for 15 seconds then add 37, you can tell the temperature in Fahrenheit. But I quickly get lost in the counting; I just know it’s a hot night.

The poet describes this chirping as getting all / worked up over this idea / of cheerfulness and song, how there is a need / to be heard in the darkness. A need to be heard in the darkness, especially if our voices are small. She imagines the damp / air and dew are trying / to hold their song down, yet they persist, like us, that need to be heard.

Crickets, she tells us, like to let their song lift up off / the earth the way that / all notes rise to the stars. What a gorgeous, aural image, how the sound floats in the night air as if their / joy itself were the only light / we needed to follow. Whether sound or light, if we listen attentively, we can stay present to the moment, feel the joy. Perhaps we may even be reminded of our own song.

11 thoughts on “Crickets by Sue Owen

  1. Thanks for sending this poem- I could hear the crickets singing! Funny about life’s little synchronicities..yesterday I bought some cheese snacks. Didn’t see all the ingredients until I’d eaten some. After 50 years of being vegetarian, I’ve eaten crickets!

    Hope these late summer days bring you sweet joys, Nancy

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

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