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"Doodlebugs," by Chris Creech

 

Doodlebugs

As children we visited
All manner of terrors
On the hapless
Doodlebug.

We stirred the hole
With pine needles
To warn him of
Impending doom.

Conjuring images of
Tiny diapered doodles
Screaming in a crib
Flames flickering.

He never bought it
Just got annoyed
Flipped sand.
We laughed.

But still to this day
The incantation
Stirs not only sand
But memories.

Doodlebug, Doodlebug
Run away home!
Your house is on fire
Your children alone.

 

© 2002 Chris Creech. Reproduced with the author's permission.

Creech's poem incorporates themes and images from "doodlebug charms," rhyming chants about antlions often recited in the southern United States. The poem's final stanza is a charm Creech learned as a child growing up in North Carolina in the 1960s.


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