Dung Beetles Navigate by Starlight*

I track my treasure home on star beams, hide
my finds in caverns, steer them clean away,
before I’m stranded in the clueless day
with all my musky gleanings dull and dried.
Straightness is all. The constellations guide
my angled legs. The facets of each eye
lock on to glimmers. Sensed how? Who can say?
The system works for me. I’m satisfied.

I know those lines of light shine down for me,
the dung deposited on dewy ground
a providence. Through moonless dark I see
in multiple dimensions beacons round,
and every blessed night miraculously
Precipitates new turds for me to find.

*Dacke, M et al., 2012. Dung beetles use the Milky Way for orientation. Current Biology.

From Norwich Writers’ Circle Open Poetry Competition 2013 Anthology, poems selected by George Szirtes

2 thoughts on “Dung Beetles Navigate by Starlight*

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