Monday 13 October 2014

New poem: Wasps

I was playing by a river in France when

an old lady came past and the boy I was

with said that was the Wasp Lady. I asked

him why she was called the Wasp Lady

and he said that she gets rid of wasps’

nests. I asked him how she does that. He

said that she had a special way. ‘What

sort of special way?’ I said. He laughed

and said that he wasn’t supposed to say.

I said, ‘Why aren’t you supposed to say?’

He said that the people in the village

didn’t want children to go about saying it.

I said, ‘How does she do it? How does

she get rid of wasps’ nests?’ He said that

she stands by the wasps’ nest and sings.

‘That’s it?’ I said. ‘Yes,’ he said. ‘Then

what happens?’ I said. He then said it

wasn’t really singing. It was more like a

single note. She stands by the nest

trying to sing this note. It’s not like any

singing you ever hear, he said. ‘Like

what?’ I said and he just laughed. We

went on mucking about in the river and

I said, ‘What does this singing thing do?’

He said that if she gets it right, people

say that it makes the wasps eat the queen.

I said,‘That wouldn’t get rid of the nest.’

He said that it would. If the queen goes,

all the rest die off after a few days. If

there are no new eggs, there are no new

wasps, that’s the end of the nest. ‘Do they

sting the queen?’ I said. ‘I don’t know,’ he

said, ‘I think they just eat her. They hear

the singing and start to eat her.’