Firefly

Earthborn stars glimmer
In lustful luminescence
Along twinkling tracks

In the UK we don’t see fireflies, or at least we only see the wingless female which we call the ‘glowworm’. She is in the same family as the firefly and she glows with a yellow lime green light.
Near where I live there is a disused railway track with a colony of glowworms which is protected by the council. When the old track was converted into a cycle track a few years ago, the council paid £150,000 to install special dim, red lighting which turns off at 11pm, so that the glowworm colony could thrive.
Glowworms have fascinated writers and poets such as Dryden, Tennyson, Wordsworth, Thomas hardy and even Shakespeare who eveoked their ‘ineffectual fire’ in Hamlet. They also get a mention in Roald Dahl’s ‘James and the Giant Peach’, when they end up serving as the light in the Statue of Liberty!
Did you know that during the Great War , Allied soldiers used the light from glowworms to read their maps at night?
Fascinating facts I would never have known if I hadn’t been inspired by haiku Heights this week!

http://www.firefly.org/

Lampyris_noctiluca

17 thoughts on “Firefly

  1. wonderful blog post and I thank you. We still see some fireflies here in Maine, although when I was growing up in Pennsylvania in the 1980s they would come up out of the field grasses at dusk in a ceaseless wave.

    I never thought of this before, but is this little bug the inspiration for Johnny Mercer’s “Glow Worm” song from 1952?? : )

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  2. A lot of alliteration in this one and I wonder where one can still find fireflies. I have not seen them for years.Very poetic reading maps by glow worm light..sending messages by pigeon.I read somewhere you could die form eating butterflies (not sure how many you need to eat) In a silly mood today Brenda:)

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    • Enjoy your silly mood day x it is good to have them now and again ~ however many butterflies it takes I would not recommend eating them! The robins in my garden do though and they seem fine!

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  3. Very lovely haiku! It’s true that fireflies/glow worms seem to be on the decline. A friend pointed that out. Light pollution may be a problem. I’m glad your council sees fit to protect these little bugs.

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    • Yes, light pollution is certainly the major problem in UK as well as destruction of habitats through overdevelopment. But that is causing problems for lots of wildlife like water voles, bats etc. Luckily there are lots of groups here trying to protect the wildlife and the council was very enlightened on this one!

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    • I feel a bit sorry for the glowworm ~ they attract a mate then die! The unsuccessful ones who don’t mate live longer! There is a moral in there somewhere but I don’t want to think about it!!

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  4. I have seen neither glow-worms nor fireflies and having only read about them adds to the enchantment they hold out…Earth-born stars is a very apt description Brenda 🙂

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    • Thanks Usha for reading and commenting x My daughter lives in Vermont, USA and she says they get lots of Fireflies and they are a bit of a nuisance, but she does live in a very rural area! She also gets bears, raccoons, and even the odd mountain lion!!

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