Poem for Cicada
By Carol Obertubbesing ’73
Written for Brood X during their 2021 emergence and as they prepare to go underground for 17 years
[1970 - Princeton, New Jersey]
Cicada, you came to me in the sunshine of my youth
The year the world trembled and ﬂared
The year I too emerged and fell deeply in love
The year when a “doctored” Dylan immortalized you in song.
[1987 - Princeton, New Jersey]
Cicada, you returned in my prime
Career growing, the world opening, love maturing
Yet still staggering, seeking
Trying to learn where I belong.
[2004 - Princeton, New Jersey]
Cicada, you came in the heat of June
Back where I ﬁrst encountered you - and love
Your orange and black wings mirroring my Tiger colors
In a paradise where we seek to learn right from wrong
[2021 - Princeton, New Jersey - Virtual]
Cicada, you come now when all the world has changed
Uncertainty consumes me, but love leads me
We are weak
But your song is so strong.
[2038 - Somewhere]
Cicada, how do I ﬁnd my way up here?
Where will I be in 17 years?
You have lived, mated, and left the next generation
Why do you sleep so long?
[Every day - Everywhere]
Cicada, before you disappear again
Teach us your patience, your passion, your pushing upward
How you go underground and then burst forth
Showing us again the power of your song.