A Widow Skimmer expertly alights.
She’s perched upon the best advantage point,
with biting flies, mosquitos in her sights.
Her smokey colored wings are set adjoint,
facilitating acrobatic flights
that ambush prey, midair, that she’ll pinpoint.
Her glossy body shimmers in the sky,
an emerald green female dragonfly.
Yet, the surroundings of the human race
are benefited by her appetite,
because the insect morsels that she’ll chase,
are pests that bring disease, and often bite.
For love, she’ll seek an eager male’s embrace,
to share a shard of dragonfly delight.
Her mate, has wings that have a different shade,
as he’ll desert her, when her eggs are laid.
So, let this Widow Skimmer wander wide,
this huntress with the heart of Artemis,
whose prowess in the woods can’t be denied.
For things within her sights, she’ll never miss,
when off on slender wings to spurt or glide.
No dragonfly more wonderful than this.
Her value to the world you can’t dismiss —
a true disease bug nuisance nemesis.
Adjoint – next to, or very near
Artemis – The Greek goddess of the hunt.
Nemesis – inevitable cause of one’s downfall or defeat.
This dragonfly is a female Widow Skimmer. They are one of the group of dragonflies known as king skimmers. The species can be found commonly across much of the United States. Wings of both sexes are marked with prominent black basal bands, often called saddlebags. Adult males develop broad white spots or bands at mid-wing, but the female does not. The diet of the adult Widow Skimmer consists of small flying insects,(mosquitoes, biting flies, midges, aphids) which are hunted from an elevated perch. Come mating season, adults pair off and mate. But unlike the males of other dragonfly species, who guard the females during egg-laying, the Widow Skimmer males leave them alone, as they lay their eggs just below the surface of the water, thereby, “widowing” them. In Greek, “widow” means “to mourn.” An adult dragonfly has a compound eye that has nearly 24,000 ommatidia. Dragonflies and their relatives are an ancient group, having been around 300 million years on earth. Dragonflies are powerful and agile fliers, capable of migrating across oceans, moving in any direction, and changing direction suddenly. In flight, the adult dragonfly can propel itself in six directions: upward, downward, forward, back, to left and to right. In general, large dragonflies have a maximum speed of 10 – 15 metres per second (22 – 34 mph) with average cruising speed of about 4.5 metres per second (10 mph). Adult dragonflies hunt on the wing using their exceptionally acute eyesight and strong, agile flight. They are almost exclusively carnivorous, eating a wide variety of insects ranging from small midges and mosquitoes to butterflies, moths, damselflies, and smaller dragonflies. Dragonflies provide important values for the ecosystem and for humans. Ecologically, they are key to food chains, and as voracious aquatic predators, and also as terrestrial predators, help to control insect populations.
This poem is an Ottava Rima.
The Ottava Rima stanza in English consists of eight iambic lines (an Octave), usually done in iambic pentameters. Each stanza consists of three sets of alternate rhymes plus one double rhyme, following the:
For this one I modified the last octave, so the entire rhyme scheme is:
abababcc – dededeff – ghghghhh.
This photograph was taken by the author himself on June 26, 2016.