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Tenacity, Work Ethic and Single-Mindedness



10078-fire-ants-isolated-on-a-white-background-pv.jpgMy home is under attack and I have gone to war with the most tenacious, covert, enemy on the planet.  The ant!  Soldiers scout,  platoons swarm, and their bite stings.  Such a tiny nemesis, impossible to defeat entirely.   I don't have a problem coexisting as long as they stay in their space outside and leave the inside of my house alone.  An invasion of my territory is unacceptable.  They are annoying pests that seem to show up after a rain.  I understand these seemingly harmless insects are simply foraging to sustain their existence.  Once they trespass, I have no compassion for their plight.  

Having issued my declaration of war, I have to admit to admiring their tenacity, work ethic, and single-mindedness.  I wish when writing, I was more endowed with those attributes.  They are amazing creatures, capable of carrying three times their body weight.  They have a social structure in which everyone knows their role and they work tirelessly and communally to accomplish their goals. Nothing short of death stops them. 

As a writer, there is much to be learned from the tiny ant.  They can be an interesting subject, used as a metaphor or as inspiration to just keep at it. Whatever "it" may be. 

Robert Frost thought ants were interesting enough to write about, as have some others.  Even I have written a few "ant" poems. 

  Departmental  by Robert Frost                      

An ant on the tablecloth
Ran into a dormant moth
Of many times his size.
He showed not the least surprise.
His business wasn't with such.
He gave it scarcely a touch,
And was off on his duty run.
Yet if he encountered one
Of the hive's inquiry squad
Whose work is to find out God
And the nature of time and space,
He would put him onto the case.
Ants are a curious race;
One crossing with hurried tread
The body of one of their dead
Isn't given a moment's arrest-
Seems not even impressed.
But he no doubt reports to any
With whom he crosses antennae
And they no doubt report
 To the higher-up at court.
 Then word goes forth in Formic:
'Death's come to Jerry McCormic,
 Our selfless forager Jerry.
Will the special Janizary
Whose office it is to bury
The dead of the commissary
Go bring him home to his people.
Lay him in state on a sepal.
Wrap him for shroud in a petal.
Embalm him with ichor of nettle.
This is the word of your Queen
And presently on the scene
Appears a solemn mortician;
ink splotched with tears
And taking formal position,
With feelers calmly atwiddle,
Seizes the dead by the middle,
And heaving him high in air,
Carries him out of there.
No one stands round to stare.
It is nobody else's affair
It couldn't be called ungentle
But how thoroughly departmental
                      ~~ Robert Frost

A Moment to Smile by Louis Gander

Ants by Ravi Shakar

Mission For the Queen

Quickly the tiny ants skitter
pesky critters
from afar just dots
little black spots
One staggers with weight of a crumb
like a drunken bum
it rights itself
crawls down the shelf
Mission stamped into DNA
its life, the pay
to feed the queen
whom no one's seen.
            ~~Judi Van Gorder
                  A Minute Poem

Three Ants by Kahlil Gabran

torn Valentine
next to ant-covered candy
tear soaked ink

ant attack
an army advanced
arrival abated







So when you are staggering under the weight of all you have to do, remember the little ant, tenaciously powering through to meet his goals. Maybe writing something down in verse can help lighten your load. And if you happen to write something about an insect and would like to share, post it here.

~~Tinker aka Judi


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