Swat Not

Swat Not

A Poem by John Alexander McFadyen

Wasps are good guys!


Vespula Vulgaris,

the common wasp,

invades my space,

my hands set flapping

as I try to bat them

away, afraid

of the sting

in their tails.


In late summer,

early autumn

their work life is complete

after three months

of feeding larvae

and serving a queen.


So now redundant

and retired from service

they wander the earth

seeking the sweet

elixir of life.


Without purpose and disorientated

they stumble towards

over ripe fruit, fizzy drinks

wine and beer and all sweet



They need liquid sugar to survive,

to control their insatiable hunger

during this,

the final chapter

of their lives.


So they nonchalantly

buzz around us

getting too close for comfort

as they zero in on

our food and drink

in all innocence,

insistent that they

have their fill.


Those who remain calm

don't trigger the under-attack


the rallying cry for

more wasps to start arriving

 in aggressive 'red-mist' mode.


So I tell myself and those

around me to be still,

I maintain this stoic posture,

superior in my knowledge

that it is the right thing to do,

but when the pesky thing's


has it buzzing around my head,

I break my resistance

and swat it anyway.


Suddenly the fact

that in the absence of wasps as predators,

our planet would be overrun

by even more damaging insects,

such as aphids, ants and caterpillars,

has little meaning.


All I care about

at that moment,

is not being stung!


© 2019 John Alexander McFadyen

Author's Note

John Alexander McFadyen

My Review

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I like this, John. It reminds me of the whole dilemma with humans and nature in that our desires are often at odds with the necessary functions of our environment.

I know I’ve asked the question ‘what is the purpose of (insert annoying creature here)?” more than once in my life. But in the end we are the most destructive creature there is. I wonder if insects ever wonder what our purpose is.

Great poem. I’m always trying to avoid wasps here. They build nests in everything and you get stung before you even know they’re there.

Posted 1 Month Ago

John Alexander McFadyen

4 Weeks Ago

Thanks from Croatia Eilis. I love your idea that the pests we endure might just question our purpose.. read more

4 Weeks Ago

Oh, you’re abroad, sounds fun. Have a great trip, John!
I love how you inform us with many details about the traits of wasps, which seem a little different than my experience. We have abundant wasps here & they swarm whenever I cook meat. Mine are definitely attracted to blood! I don't mind the one or two that are almost always nearby, but when they call in the troops, that feels a little daunting! I love how you explain your interactions in a tolerant way! (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 1 Month Ago

John Alexander McFadyen

4 Weeks Ago

thanks from Croatia Margie. Was amazed learning about them.
Ooooh - I cannot forget the day I met with a gang of them John and received in a flick of an eye nineteen stings on my back and arms............. went into shock for a while but realized I had innocently thrown a shovel of debris right into a nest of the things.......... I still believe like you that they are the good guys who are only doing what they know how and thanks for this needed reminder.

Posted 1 Month Ago

John Alexander McFadyen

1 Month Ago

Ouch! Not nice to have such an experience. I have been stung once or twice by a single wasp and that.. read more
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I have a bee attracted flower garden, many flowers, so bees of all types
are in full buzz around me at all times.

Yes, a fine write, John!


Posted 1 Month Ago

John Alexander McFadyen

1 Month Ago

Ah tis not the bees to beeware of, tis the wasps! Many thanks DAH.

1 Month Ago

My pleasure!
Peskey little blighters aren't they? I really enjoyed your lines here John. I was battling with a few the other day down at the marina. They had taken a fancy to my toast and jam. Reminded me of what my grandparents would do. Put out a jar filled a third full with jam on the window cill to attract the wasps. They would drown in jam topped up with water. Hundreds of them. I would never do that myself, but it was a source of fascination to me to see all that agony.


Posted 1 Month Ago

John Alexander McFadyen

1 Month Ago

Yes I think my mum did a similar trick in summer. I like to leave en alone but as in the poem (based.. read more
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I never, I'm afraid, think of their plus side, instead I pick up the nearest cudgel and bludgeon the pesky critters to death, bumble bees however are left alone.
Hi John, hope you are well

Posted 1 Month Ago

John Alexander McFadyen

1 Month Ago

Hi Gee an good thanks, how are things with you?
Thanks for giving me a 'buzz!'
This would be funny if their sting wasn't so annoying
I try to look at wasps based on the insects control they provide but this has been an especially bad year, for what ever reason, and I have had to take out 4 nests
It seems there are two types based on body structure and I find the extra long ones are much less aggressive, so I leave them alone,

Posted 1 Month Ago

John Alexander McFadyen

1 Month Ago

Yes they can be pesky critters indeed. I guess like you I have tried to see the essential side of th.. read more

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7 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on September 5, 2019
Last Updated on September 8, 2019


John Alexander McFadyen
John Alexander McFadyen

Brixworth, England, United Kingdom

Well, have a long and complicated story and started it as an autobiography on Bebo but got writer's block/memory fogging. People liked it though and kept asking for the next chapter! fools.. more..


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