In November 2010 I gave a Nature Live about freeloader flies at the Natural History Museum in London. Afterwards an elderly lady came to the front and presented me ("The Lady of the flies") with a poem she had written about a small black fly. A freeloader fly? Possibly, but who knows...
I think the poem is really lovely and obtained permission from the author to publish it on this website, so that fly lovers can read it. So here it is:
Tiny Black Fly: a brief encounter on the 4th floor
by Greta Trevers, London
Tiny black fly
Seen from the corner of my eye
Yet gone in a wink if I blink,
You zoom by.
Startled I look up
But you are never still for me to see
Never to learn your name or
Ask from whence you came.
How have you found your way to me
Up here in the sky?
A dot in infinity, your eye a spec in the dot
A full-stop in eternity.
A minute flurry of buzz and whirring wings.
You never stop - and I need specs. to see you!
You can look up, down and all around - at the same time
You come at me from all sides,
All at once, as you zig zag by,
With your faint, insistent buzz.
I watch your big black cousin -
Elephant to your mouse -
Constantly blunder against the pane,
Consistently missing the opening -
Do you scoff at his miniscule brain?
Have you come to seek my ripe banana,
Or is it me?
I hear you feed on sap -
Well, I'm a prize sap - most certainly!
Slash, strike, swing, swipe, swot -
My arms flail wildly.
Mother Nature has supplied all your need,
But I need six hands to catch you
and eyes in the back of my head! but ...
Do I really wish you dead?
Have they made you a god in the world of
infinite, animate specs -
Monarch of all you survey,
Do they bow down to you each day
As you bless them with sub-sonic song?
Your are my tormentor, I the helpless one.
Then - suddenly you are gone
And I am left alone.
All is calm.
I used to curse you - but
Now I miss you
My tiny black fly... buzz..... buzz.... buzzz