If you liked them, how your heart might have lifted 
to see their neat trapezium shapes studding
the wall like a newly landed flight of jet
ornaments, the intensity of their black
gloss, with secret blues and greens half-glinting through, 
and the glass wings, not so unlike those of bees—

if you could bring yourself; if they occupied
a niche in creation nudged fractionally
      because it’s not their present forms, it’s 
their larval incarnations that you can’t stop
heaving into view, white nests moistly seething
in a dead pigeon or a newspaper-wrapped
package leaking beside a path (but enough—
the others will kindly absent themselves, please!)

And wondering what, where—under the floorboards
or behind the freezer—suddenly hatched these.

Fleur Adcock was born in New Zealand but has lived in England since 1963. Her collections of poetry are Poems 1960-2000 (Bloodaxe, 2000), Dragon Talk (Bloodaxe, 2010) and Glass Wings,(Bloodaxe and VUP, 2013). She has also published translations from Romanian and medieval Latin poetry, and edited several anthologies, including The Faber Book of 20th Century Women's Poetry. In 2006 she was awarded the Queens Gold Medal for Poetry.

Adcock comments: ‘I wrote “Blowflies” in July 2011 as part of a sequence called “My Life with Arthropods”, mostly devoted to insects. It includes the phrase “glass wings”, which was to become the title of the collection of poems in which the sequence appeared in 2013. I have always been fascinated by insects and their like, and had come to realise that fascination need not preclude distaste: it‘s perfectly possible to enjoy describing a creature from a purely aesthetic point of view even if you don't like it.’

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Bloodaxe Books author page
Victoria University Press author page
Contemporary Writers author page