When I was little, we lived with my grandparents and later, when my parents had a place of their own, I spent most of the summer holidays with them. If I wasn’t staying over, my nan would collect me in the morning and take me all the way back at the end of the day. Their stamp-sized front garden was bordered by a pungent, green privet hedge.
I remember one very hot, dusty summer, I must have been five or six years old. Some houses had been demolished at the end of the road a year or so previously, and the site was covered with weeds. I loved the pretty flowers, but the residents resented the intruders. We were passing the fence when I spotted it, a strange creature, much like an alien, with a plump green caterpillar body about three inches long and a strange stinger at the end. My nan picked it up and put it in a large matchbox which she’d found lying nearby, possibly thrown away by a workman on the site.
The next day, I was surprised to see the matchbox on my nan’s dining table. Granddad was getting ready for work by the time I arrived, but he wasn’t ready to leave yet. I asked him what the creature was, and he told me it was a privet hawk moth caterpillar. He put it into his pocket to show the caterpillar to his workmates. Despite searching my grandparent’s front hedge, I’ve never seen one since.
the strangest creatures
revealed in leafy sunshine
Kim M. Russell, 30th September 2019
This Monday I’m hosting the haibun prompt at the dVerse Poets Pub, where we are writing about an encounter with an insect: it can be a beautiful or a scary experience, an enlightening or a surprising one; it can be about an ordinary or an unusual insect.
As usual we aim to write no more than three tight paragraphs about an encounter with an insect, followed by a traditional haiku that includes reference to the season.