Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Mantis

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Robert Siegel, a poet and fiction writer who lives in South Berwick, is noted for his poems about nature’s creatures. Here, he gives voice to a praying mantis.

Mantis by Robert Siegel

Still as a silk screen I wait, I wait,
invisible, part of the furniture,
for the ambling fly or worm,
the Monarch just alighting,
the beetle dark under its armor.
On the altar of my arms, I offer up
whatever wanders by. In love
I am insatiable, will take
my mate’s head in his electric need
and devour it, swallowing his body
almost as an afterthought;
then, absent-mindedly,
moving stiff and brittle as a tree,
go propagate my kind.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2005 by Robert Siegel. Reprinted from The Waters Under The Earth, Canon Press, 2005, by permission of Robert Siegel. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to David Turner, Special Assistant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at poetlaureate@mainewriters.org or 207-228-8263.