This poem is adapted from a brilliant work by Paul Fleischman called Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices. My presentation of it here pales in comparison to Fleischman's masterful composition of the poem, formatted differently, as a spoken duet. I strongly recommend that you find a copy of Joyful Noise. It's truly remarkable.
Every time I read this poem I'm struck by how like a birth mother a mother digger wasp is, struggling to make the best possible preparations for children she will not raise and may never see, but making the preparations anyway, because she is a mother.
The Digger Wasp
I will never see my children,
they will never gaze on me.
I'll have died when they're emerging next July.
So it must be.
Yet, when they behold the home
I'm digging now for their protection,
safe and snug
they'll recognize my deep affection.
When they hatch and find a caterpillar,
stung and paralyzed,
left by me for them to eat
they'll know as well that I was wise.
When they learn I'd dragged it there
in spite of every interference,
weeds and rocks and thieving beetles,
they'll discern my perseverance.
While, cocooned, they pass the winter
safe from snow and ice and chill,
they'll perceive and thank me for
my formidable digging skill.
By the time they're ready,
to climb up from their cells
and break the burrow's seal and fly away
my young will know me well.
When they care for their own children,
never to be looked upon,
they'll feel my love in replica
and know that they, in turn, were cherished
by the mother digger wasp
whose face and form they never saw.
The Adoptive Parent
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