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Gene Myers.haiku column

The Haiku Society of America is pleased to host this ongoing column.

.Haiku: a place to share tools available to haiku writers and fellow haiku fans (like how to use Twitter, Facebook and Scribd for building community, self-publishing and marketing). The column will also feature interviews, blog spotlights and occasional multimedia presentations.

Gene Myers <poetgene@gmail.com>


2013 .haiku columns

.haiku column number 19 • 5-18-2013

by Gene Myers <poetgene@gmail.com>

The oncoming cicada cacophony

cicadaHow could I not write about the cicadas? Soon, the East Coast (along the Route 95 corridor) will be hearing the din of the insects’ singles scene. Billions of bug-eyed dudes will be clinging to trees and singing for sex.

When will they arrive? The last swell occurred in 1996 and this batch they call brood II comes back every 17 years. So, as soon as the ground temperature reaches 64 degrees, start checking the trees.

But don’t worry, you’ll notice them. Some fear their songs will drown out late spring events, like school proms, graduations and June weddings.

a cicada chirrs—
there! and there!
stars appear


A single male can make a noise over 100 decibels, according to Debbie Hadley in an About.com article. Interesting side note: you can make them scream!

“In addition to its mating and courtship calls, the male cicada makes noise when startled. Pick up a male cicada, and you'll probably hear a good example of the cicada shriek,” writes Hadley.

To put 100 decibels in context, the following examples are from Yahoo Answers. Eighty decibels is equivalent to heavy traffic, a vacuum cleaner or a heavy truck. Ninety decibels is equivalent to a pneumatic drill or a shouted conversation and 100 decibels is equivalent to a chain saw, jackhammer, or a speeding train.

There may be cause to balk at some of these illustrations, but let’s just have one more example to add to the cicada call din. From Georgia to Connecticut, the cacophony will be as loud as a rock concert.

piercing the rocks
cicada's shrill


Some random fun facts: They have five eyes. The most common eye color is red, but they can also have many other colors, and even multi-colored eyes. If you think that sounds icky, did you know that there is a cicada STD? It's a fungus that infects them and destroys their ability to reproduce.

“Often, their entire abdomen will fall off. The cicadas actually spread the fungus throughout their local colony via mating—the Massosporan fungus is a cicada STD,” writes Dan Mozga on cicadamania.com. Mozga also writes that cicadas think power tools and lawn mowers sound like their mating call, so you may make a few new friends while working in the yard this spring.

• • •


Is there something you would like to see in a column? Email me at <poetgene@gmail.com>.

• .haiku column number 19 • 5-18-2013 •

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