Narrative Poem: Lightning Bugs - LetterPile - Writing and Literature
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Narrative Poem: Lightning Bugs

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narrative-poem-lightning-bugs

Lightning Bugs or Firelies

Lightning bugs or fireflies are not insects or bugs. They are flying beetles with lanterns of light, a bio-chemical reaction, sending out invitations to the opposite sex. Living in California, the lightning bug is one thing I miss seeing in the summertime, so I could only reminisce. Outside on a warm summer night in Philadelphia, my friends and I would chase the lightning bugs and try to grab a few to collect and explore. It all felt so innocent, a favorite activity for a young boy, although my mother didn't see it that way.

Poem: Lightning Bugs

When I was a kid,
lightening bugs
meant a summer night
and playing hide and seek
with my friends.

They’re called fireflies
my mom would say,
and stop chasing
those poor things.

I ignored my mother
and put them
inside a glass jar
and forgot to punch holes
in the lid.

Then I would wonder
why their precious lights
went out,
why they didn’t flutter
anymore.

I’d shake the jar
to wake them up,
to make them glow again,
as if I were
their creator.

Then I’d hide in the bushes
when it wasn’t my turn to seek,
and only later
would I catch more
when they signaled for me
from the sky.

Sometimes I’d hold them
tightly in my hands,
feeling their tickling bodies
trying
to break loose.

I told my friends
not to pull off their
hard beetle wings
or smash their fiery
tails.

As the years
passed,
I stopped chasing
those luminescent
beetles.

I no longer collected
and tortured
their fragile
bodies.

I stopped calling them
lightening bugs,
no longer hid
from my friends
and tried to control
other living things.

Fireflies, my mother said.
Don’t try to catch them,
just watch and enjoy.

Questions & Answers

Question: What is the plot of the narrative poem, "Lightning Bugs"?

Answer: It is the young boy’s relationship with lightning bugs, and how it changes as he becomes an adult.

Comments

Mark Tulin (author) from Santa Barbara, California on April 05, 2020:

Thanks, Majestic.

Laurinzoscott from Kanab, Utah on April 05, 2020:

Mark. T. Is pretty awesome,)

Mark Tulin (author) from Santa Barbara, California on April 04, 2020:

Thank you, Brenda.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on April 04, 2020:

Mark,

I shared this one.

Here is the link.

https://www.facebook.com/101958054719811/posts/133...

Mark Tulin (author) from Santa Barbara, California on April 04, 2020:

Learning how to be gentle with a gift from nature, that was a real lesson.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on April 04, 2020:

Mark,

I remember those days.

What fun I used to have putting them inside a jar.

Their lights were an amazement... I just had to catch them.

Nice memories.

Mark Tulin (author) from Santa Barbara, California on April 02, 2020:

I’m glad. For many of us, childhood was a great place to be.

Laurinzoscott from Kanab, Utah on April 02, 2020:

Wow, you took me way back...I use to collect them in jars...lol

This made my day!!!

I like "just watch and enjoy"

Mark Tulin (author) from Santa Barbara, California on August 05, 2019:

Finnegan. Thanks for sharing your story. Your dad seemed to have a lot of compassion.

Fin from Barstow on August 05, 2019:

Funny. I have a lightning bug poem or two somewhere. I have an essay where I talk about growing up in Maryland and going out and catching them myself. We would put holes in the tops of the jars but in the morning the bugs were always gone. I think my father set them free while we were sleeping.

Mark Tulin (author) from Santa Barbara, California on April 15, 2019:

Thanks as always, Diane.

Diane Denison from Cincinnati Ohio on April 15, 2019:

Love this poem Mark. It feels like a fresh breath air of innocence dancing in my head. Thank you. Yes I am sharing it

Mark Tulin (author) from Santa Barbara, California on January 24, 2019:

I’m glad it made you think of childhood, Marlene. Some of the best years of our lives.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on January 24, 2019:

Your poem reminds me of my childhood, living in New Jersey, my siblings and I would run around chasing and catching lightning bugs in jars. It was fun. Reading your poem was fun. And now I want to call my brothers and ask them if they remember chasing lightning bugs... fireflies in the summer.

Mark Tulin (author) from Santa Barbara, California on October 01, 2018:

Gloworms sound cool, too. It’s nice that there are still those innocent childhood memories that still float around us.

Being PU from India on October 01, 2018:

fireflies.....I call them gloworms. I miss them. this one tugged at my memories. thank you

Mark Tulin (author) from Santa Barbara, California on August 16, 2018:

You’re welcome, Ron. Me, too. But I haven’t seen them since I moved to California.

Mark Tulin (author) from Santa Barbara, California on June 04, 2018:

Thanks, Shyron. I agree. Now, we don't have to own or collect them. We could just admire from afar.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on June 03, 2018:

Mark, I too caught fireflies, until I realized how fragile life is and how easy it can end.

I love your poem

Blessings my friend.

Mark Tulin (author) from Santa Barbara, California on May 13, 2018:

Thanks, Dora.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 12, 2018:

Great childhood story told in verse. The playful poetic form is so appropriate. Good work!

Mark Tulin (author) from Santa Barbara, California on May 08, 2018:

Thanks Li-Jen for reading Lightning Bugs.

Li-Jen Hew on May 08, 2018:

Hello Mark. Glad you followed what your mum said and perspective changes. Thank you for sharing your story through your poem. Haha, lightening bugs, cool name! :)

Mark Tulin (author) from Santa Barbara, California on May 08, 2018:

Eventually, I started to agree with my mother. I couldn't deny her wisdom any longer.

manatita44 from london on May 07, 2018:

I agree with your mother. Nevertheless you were young and very sincere. Much love.

Mark Tulin (author) from Santa Barbara, California on May 05, 2018:

Tim, I’m glad you highlighted the point about awareness and compassion. That’s one good thing about growing older. Thanks for your excellent feedback.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on May 05, 2018:

Thanks, Mark. Great memories. I believe my mom said the same thing to me and I did the same thing: catch those little fellows and watch them glow in a glass jar.

But I like where your poem goes: we are now enlightened, recognizing that we are merely tiny creatures compared to our universe; we have the fire inside now from awareness. Now, we must bring light to darkness around us. When we chance fire flies in the North Carolina evening, your poem will be remembered.

Beautiful poem with powerful images.

Sincerely,

Tim

Mark Tulin (author) from Santa Barbara, California on May 05, 2018:

Thanks, Hari.

Hari Prasad S from Bangalore on May 04, 2018:

Mark, Lovely memories captured. Retro stuff. Thanks for writing.

- Hari