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The Cicadas Alone will Mourn, a poem by G.R. Kramer in Global City Review Issue 25: Do We Have a Future?

17-year cicadas, nature’s longest-lived insects, rise once from underground to mate and die.


we gather as one drove then die
cycle-stamped brood from dark larvae
earthen seeded pupae upswarm
mass in choral trees songs burn air
copulate ovules silence again

we gather in fervid paradise
born from the eternal earth womb
where life was a buried name of death
shrill yammering lust detonates
skin piles scattered as sated leaves

we gather within the rising
juddering tymbal brood racket
rise in forests and field edges
echo in stone and glass canyons
live our full day on tar rivers

our army of eyes gather as one
we watched you build hollow towers
sat by your crowded deadly thoughts
mourned your years of plodding and pain
the brief mad flash in which you dwelt

we gather to remember time
before your bone dust darkened the land
your cruel unsteady ascendence
as you lowered yourselves we fought
to arise apart from the same ground

we gather together to praise
the small greatness of your tiny clutch
your earthen dead playing cleft tines
of broken genius as the song
of our bliss fell unheard to you

we gather above your fallen truths
your doubts
dissolved to dirt and fed us
we gather to begin again
again we sing all that we know:

the time for all doing is now
we gather as one drove then die.

G.R. Kramer grew up in Canada, Kenya and the U.S., the child of refugees from fascism and communism. He spent his adult life partly in New York City and mostly in the Washington DC area. He is a lawyer by vocation and has written poetry for years for his own pleasure, and more recently for publication. He has been very modestly successful after a lot of effort, with publication here and there, and as a finalist in this and that poetry contests. He identifies with Sylvia Plath’s statement, “I love my rejection slips, they tell me that I’m trying.” His first poetry chapbook is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in early 2023.  His poetry website is at
The Cicadas Alone Will Mourn posits a ‘hive mind’ for the seventeen-year cicadas of the eastern United States, which on emergence from a generation-long dormancy, reacts to a world empty of humanity. While poetry about the natural world is usually from the perspective of a human observer, this poem reverses the telescope to imagine the passing of humanity from the perspective of a very different type of being.