June 08, 2009

Labour Naught by Lynda Schultz

Author's Note: This is in honour of the leaf-cutters. Though they almost destroyed my garden, I admire their industry. God does good work.

‘Twas a warm sunny day in the Vale of Naught;
Birds, bugs, and beasties resting were caught,
As a breeze from the west arose to uncover
A plot to disturb a nest of young plover.

“Oh my goodness, my gosh, what a terrible lapse
To awake them from sleep, to unsettle their naps!
Such a breach of good taste, of etiquette true,
To wake up the birds, oh what will I do?”

No harm and no foul; except those that had wings,
For the babies stayed settled, such somnolent things.
The zephyr of air planning malevolent deed,
Convinced all the fauna to follow their lead.

While all were in slumber, not a witness in sight,
The breeze went to hunting that horrible blight
That sought to reverse his nasty design
To keep everything quiet, lazy, benign.

He ruffled the hedgerows and lifted the leaves,
Tossed up the moss and bent down the sheaves;
All the while cursing under whispery breath,
He was doing exactly what he hated to death.

“Someone will pay,” he muttered, distraught,
“For disturbing my peace, for stirring the pot.
It’s better to rest, to sleep, to stretch out,
To be at your ease, neither murmur nor shout.”

No reason to cool, refresh or revive
If the world was asleep, right down to each hive.
The breeze wouldn’t work unless there was need;
To serve the Creation wasn’t part of his creed.

Around the old Oak, the breeze took a tour
For the leaves by the nest held the secret for sure.
From under the mulch at the foot of the tree
A flick of a leaf and — “I’ve got them!” What glee!

A family of ants; cousins and brothers,
Uncles and nieces, sisters and mothers
Were carrying food to their winter retreat
In spite of the sun, the hour and the heat.

They worked with a will, in lines tidy and true,
Collecting supplies to see winter right through.
They looked not to the right, nor gazed to the left
But kept right on moving, focused and deft.

There was plenty to eat now that summer was here.
But winter they knew would lack in good cheer
If they didn’t ensure there’d be plenty of fodder
To keep them in clover, green leaves and water.

The wind drew his breath, all set to let fly
The blast of his lungs that would cause them to die,
Or blow them to somewhere so far away
That they couldn’t return to cause disarray.

To this very day rumours course through the dell;
Whatever the ants heard, they never did tell.
Who stole the bluster from the lips of the breeze
And caused him to cower and fall to his knees?

No one was present, no one was there
To witness the end of that scene of despair.
They all were asleep, so none could explain
Why the sky turned to clouds and it started to rain.

How the wind got the message direct from the Chief
To remind him of Who might come to the relief
Of a million poor ants working hard to survive
At the command of the Master of all things alive.

I’m told from that moment the wind was unswerving
In doing his best to be constantly serving.
His example was such that all nature, convinced
Worked like the ants from that time ever since.

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!” Proverbs 6:6 NIV


  1. Hi Lynda, I love your poem! You are so right about the ants. Aren't they industrious!
    I used to tell my children "Andy Ant" stories at bedtime. (My twelve year old girl still asks for them once in awhile!).

  2. Ants...I have a million of them in my lawn and garden. I shift them; mow over them; sweep them away. Next day they are back and rebuilding with gusto and determination. Surely such an example of perseverance under fire. x


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