I was talking today about the little black ants that I confront on occasion at my house, and how I recently unearthed a colony and laid out my old school bait concoction (1 part powdered sugar, 1 part Borax) to rid them.
But that I felt a little remorseful as I watched them so quickly and earnestly carrying their new bounty home. Working together, lugging white crystal chunks many times their collective size. I talked about Annalise and her story of “Feed them outside. If you provide them with food somewhere else, they won’t come in your house.”
And my dad gifted us all with this poem recital, off the top of his head:
Black ants have made a musty mound
My purple pine tree under,
And I am often to be found,
Regarding it with wonder.
Yet as I watch, somehow it’s odd,
Above their busy striving
I feel like an ironic god
Surveying human striving.
Then one day came my serving maid,
And just in time I caught her,
For on each lusty arm she weighed
A pail of boiling water.
She said with glee: “When this I spill,
Of life they’ll soon be lacking.”
Said I: “If even one you kill,
You bitch! I’ll send you packing.”
Just think - ten thousand eager lives
In that toil-worn upcasting,
Their homes, their babies and their wives
Destroyed in one fell blasting!
Imagine that swift-scalding hell! …
And though, mayhap, it seems a
Fantastic, far-fetched parallel -
Remember … Hiroshima.
- Robert William Service