Friday, August 04, 2006

Hot Cicadas

"At eight of a hot morning, the cicada speaks his first piece. He says of the world: heat. At eleven of the same day, still singing, he has not changed his note but has enlarged his theme. He says of the morning: love. In the sultry middle of the afternoon, when the sadness of love and of heat has shaken him, his symphonic soul goes into the great movement and he says: death. But the thing isn't over. After supper he weaves heat, love, death into a final stanza, subtler and less brassy than the others. He has one last heroic monosyllable at his command. Life, he says, reminiscing. Life."
E.B. White

Prompt: Write about the heat on a summer day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about cicadas again, and I stumbled upon the quotation from E. B. White (oh, there's another strand: Charlotte's Web, which I just watched with my granddaughters while we read from the book--and how could I forget the spare Elements of Style that he crafted from his grammar teacher's legacy). Anyway, the cicadas. My former student wrote me from Chicago that these "awful insects" were zapping her and any surface they could find. How could they stay buried for 17 years then "act up" so? I wrote her an essay about cicadas in reply, but I wish I'd had the E.B. White comment to share then. My park ranger son talked about the 17-year and the 13-year varieties when I visited him earlier too. I must be drawn to the idea of their brief but intense lives as I think of them today.