The POTW: Verse Til It Hurts


POTW #850
(Week of 1 September, 2013)

Yesterday I was out in the yard and I came across some really creepy-looking bugs living on a branch of a lemon tree. They looked like little fluffy pillows with a nasty armor plate and I was pretty sure they were not from Earth. I tweeted a picture and someone identified them within a half-hour (thanks, Chase): cottony cushion scale, vicious plant pests that fasten themselves to a citrus branch and suck the sap out of it until it dies. They nearly destroyed the entire California citrus industry in the late nineteenth century, but fortunately somebody figured out that they have a couple of natural predators: Australian ladybugs, which like to eat them; and a type of fly that will lay its eggs inside the scale so that the larvae basically devour it from the inside out. Two lessons to be learned: first, crowd-sourcing on Twitter is a great way to get information about vague questions like "what the heck is that?" (although it did fail me with the sand dollar/barnacle mystery), and second, nature is really, really ruthless.

The Big Brunch

When predators are made of meat
They make a toothy tasty treat
The merry-go-round of eat and be eaten
A cycle that cannot be beaten
An insect lays its eggs in you
Its larvae use your guts as food
Your sharpened claws won't help you now
The chewer has become the chow
There is no top of a chain in a loop
The world is a meal and we're all in the soup
It's nobody's party and nobody's fault
I guess you might as well pass the salt

Copyright © 2013 by Dave Grossman

Permanent link to this entry:


The POTW has been on hiatus for a few years now, but you never know when I might pick it back up again. If you use a blog reader of some sort, you can add the poem to it using This Link. Or, if you like, you can have the POTW sent to you by email every week (it's FREE). With our high-tech automated system, all you have to do is send an email to from the mail account where you want to receive it, and we'll put you on the list. You will receive a confirmation by email, although it may take a while as the automated subscription process is quite complex and arcane. (You can see just exactly how complex and arcane it is by taking our guided tour.)

No strings are attached. No salesmen will visit your home. No spam will occur. Your privacy will be vigorously protected. If you have questions, consult the FAQ.

Buy This Book:

Interested in more? Check out "Ode to the Stuff in the Sink," Dave's illustrated book of "guy" verse (concerning the deeper philosophies of things like not doing the laundry, putting your feet on the furniture, and of course beer) at the Maximegalomporium (our store). And did I mention it was illustrated? Pictures!

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?:

Like any self-respecting citizen of the modern age, I use machinery.

Other Frequently Asked Questions:

Consult the POTW FAQ.