Insects Poems

Poems about insects delve into the fascinating world of these tiny creatures. They celebrate the diversity of insect life, marveling at their intricate anatomy and behavior.

Through whimsical descriptions, poets draw readers into the microcosm of insects, inviting them to see these creatures in a new light. These verses may also explore the role of insects in ecological balance, highlighting their significance in pollination, decomposition, and as a food source for other animals.

Through their poetry, writers encourage readers to appreciate the often-overlooked beauty and importance of the insect kingdom.


by Richard de Zoysa

The poem ‘Lepidoptera’ is a metaphorical representation of a mentally ill mind, likened to a broken butterfly wing. The poet is imploring society to support those with mental illness.

In this poem, Richard de Zoysa uses insects, specifically butterflies, as a metaphor for the human mind. The title of the poem, which is the scientific name for butterflies and moths, emphasizes this metaphor. Throughout the poem, de Zoysa depicts the fragile and fleeting nature of the butterfly/mind, highlighting the importance of treating it with care and compassion.

On broken butterfly wing,

your crippled mind fluttered into my schoolroom. Failed. And died.

I couldn’t do a thing to stir its organs

of poor maimed sense to life again.

Fame is a bee

by Emily Dickinson

‘Fame is a bee’ by Emily Dickinson uses a bee to describe the fleeting nature of fame. She uses clever images and original poetic writing throughout.

The bee is brilliantly rendered in this poem and it is undeniably a fine example of a poem that depicts insects. Even the brevity of the poem seemingly reflects the brief lifespan of insects like bees. The only thing holding it back from being one of the greatest ever poems about insects is the fact the bee is used as a device to better expose fame and is thus not the center of the poem's attention in the same way.

Fame is a bee.

It has a song—

It has a sting—


by Elizabeth Alexander

‘Equinox’ by Elizabeth Alexander is a heartfelt poem about death and how all living things are forced to contend with it. The speaker uses a creative metaphor comparing bees on the equinox to her grandmother. 

The first very important image in this poem is that of eccentric bees that fly in circles, like dervishes, and generally behave in a confusing manner. They know what time of year it is and that the fall equinox means that their lives are coming to a close.

Now is the time of year when bees are wild

and eccentric. They fly fast and in cramped

loop-de-loops, dive-bomb clusters of conversants

in the bright, late-September out-of-doors.

To a Butterfly

by William Wordsworth

There are two poems by the title ‘To a Butterfly’ in William Wordsworth’s 1807 poetry collection, “Poems, in Two Volumes.” The first poem is the best-known in comparison to the latter one.

The butterfly represents the freedom and beauty of nature and serves as a reminder of the importance of cherishing every moment of life. The speaker's invitation to the butterfly to rest in his orchard ground highlights the importance of creating a harmonious relationship between humans and insects.

Stay near me - do not take thy flight!

A little longer stay in sight!

Much converse do I find in thee,

Historian of my infancy!

The cry of the cicada

by Matsuo Bashō

‘The cry of the cicada’ by Matsuo Bashō is a thoughtful poem that evokes images of summer and reminds readers about the inevitability of death.

Insects, including the cicada, hold symbolic significance in Bashō's poetry. They represent nature and life while serving as metaphors for the human experience. By incorporating insects into his verses, Bashō highlights the intricate relationship between humanity and the natural world.

The cry of the cicada

Gives us no sign

That presently they will die. 

On the one-ton temple bell

by Yosa Buson

‘On the one-ton temple bell’ by Yosa Buson is a beautiful haiku. It describes a moonmoth sleeping on a temple bell. 

The mention of the moonmoth in this poem adds to the overall mood of peacefulness and suggests a connection to nature. The fact that the moth is sitting on a giant metal bell is what makes this poem so interesting and popular.

On the one-ton temple bell

A moonmoth, folded into sleep,


Autumn moonlight

by Matsuo Bashō

‘Autumn moonlight’ by Matsuo Bashō is a traditional haiku that’s beautiful written about the seasons. This translation was done by Robert Hass.

Insects play a significant role in Matsuo Bashō's poetry, often symbolizing the small and insignificant aspects of nature. In 'Autumn moonlight,' the image of the worm digging into the chestnut emphasizes the importance of paying attention to the small details of the natural world, highlighting the idea of the interconnectedness of all living things.

Autumn moonlight--

a worm digs silently

into the chestnut.

I want to sleep

by Masaoka Shiki

‘I want to sleep’ by Masaoka Shiki is an interesting poem that describes someone’s desire to sleep and how flies are interfering with that.

The mention of buzzing flies in the poem introduces the presence of insects. In poetry, insects are often symbolic, representing various concepts such as annoyance or the delicate balance of nature. In this haiku, the flies act as a source of disturbance.

I want to sleep

Swat the flies

Softly, please.

A caterpillar

by Matsuo Bashō

‘A caterpillar’ by Matsuo Bashō is a concise that captures the image of a caterpillar through simple yet interesting imagery. The poem revolves around a caterpillar, a creature in the process of metamorphosis.

Insects play a prominent role in traditional Japanese poetry, including this haiku. In this poem, the caterpillar serves as a representative of the insect world and its capacity for transformation. Insects are often seen as symbols of fragility, as well.

A caterpillar

this deep in fall

still not a butterfly.

I kill an ant

by Shuson Kato

‘I kill an ant’ by Shuson Kato depicts someone killing an ant and realizing that their children were watching them.

Animals and insects are a recurring motif in Shuson Kato's poetry. His work often explores the value and importance of all forms of life, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. This is quite common among haiku poets generally, such as Kobayashi Issa.

I kill an ant

and realize my three children  

have been watching

Explore more poems about Insects

Summum Bonum

by Robert Browning

‘Summum Bonum’ by Robert Browning is a fairly straightforward and memorable poem about love and how it is far more important, and valuable than any beautiful summer day or shining gemstone. 

The bee is one of the first images that the poet uses in this piece. He suggests that the bee works as a symbol for life throughout the year, making it quite important when weighed against a single kiss.

All the breath and the bloom of the year in the bag of one bee:

All the wonder and wealth of the mine in the heart of one gem:

In the core of one pearl all the shade and the shine of the sea:

A Butterfly Talks

by Annette Wynne

‘A Butterfly Talks’ is a children’s poem written by the American poet Annette Wynne. In this short poem, the poet emphasizes the splendor of simple things in nature.

A butterfly talks to each flower

And stops to eat and drink,

And I have seen one lighting

In a quiet spot to think;

A Noiseless Patient Spider

by Walt Whitman

A noiseless patient spider,

I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,

Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,

It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,

At Last We Killed The Roaches

by Lucille Clifton

‘At Last We Killed The Roaches’ by Lucille Clifton is a thoughtful poem about an experience in a speaker’s childhood with roaches. Read a complete summary and analysis of the poem.


by Carol Ann Duffy

‘Bees’ by Carol Ann Duffy is a thoughtful poem that explores writing. The poet uses bee imagery to describe the process of creation. 

Here are my bees,

brazen, blurs on paper,

besotted; buzzwords, dancing

their flawless, airy maps.


by Sylvia Plath

‘Blackberrying’ by Sylvia Plath explores decaying and flourishing life and human mortality. It was published in 1971 in Crossing the Water, after the poet’s death.

Nobody in the lane, and nothing, nothing but blackberries,

Blackberries on either side, though on the right mainly,

A blackberry alley, going down in hooks, and a sea

Somewhere at the end of it, heaving. Blackberries


by Robert Frost

‘Departmental’ by Robert Frost is a clever poem that presents a satire of ant society. It suggests that the control and compartmentalization in the ant world would not work, or should not work, in human society.

An ant on the tablecloth

Ran into a dormant moth

Of many times his size.

He showed not the least surprise.

Fallen Apples

by Tom Hansen

‘Fallen Apples’ appears in Tom Hansen’s poetry collection “Fallen to Earth”. This poem records the movement of wasps through the apples fallen the night before.

From cocoon forth a butterfly

by Emily Dickinson

‘From cocoon forth a butterfly,’ also known as ‘The Butterfly’s Day,’ is a beautiful poem written by the American poet Emily Dickinson. This poem presents the themes of the vanity of life and oblivion.

From Cocoon forth a Butterfly

As Lady from her Door

Emerged — a Summer Afternoon —

Repairing Everywhere —

I dreaded that first Robin

by Emily Dickinson

’I dreaded that first Robin’ by Emily Dickinson is a surprising poem about nature. The speaker confesses to an unusual opinion about the season throughout the lines.

I dreaded that first Robin, so,

But He is mastered, now,

I'm accustomed to Him grown,

He hurts a little, though—


by Annie Finch

‘Insect’ by Annie Finch describes an insect. The poet uses hyphenated compound words and unusual images to depict the creature’s life and actions.


by E.E. Cummings



  a)s w(e loo)k


Sleeping in the Forest

by Mary Oliver

‘Sleeping in the Forest’ by Mary Oliver is a lyric poem that depicts a speaker’s experience in the natural world. She spends the night in the forest and is made better for it.

Some Rainbow – coming from the Fair!

by Emily Dickinson

‘Some rainbow – coming from the Fair!’ by Emily Dickinson delves into themes of spring, change, and rebirth. The poet depicts how the world changes when spring arrives.

Some Rainbow – coming from the Fair!

Some Vision of the World Cashmere –

I confidently see!

Or else a Peacock's purple Train

The Butterfly and the Bee

by William Lisle Bowles

‘The Butterfly and the Bee’ is a children’s poem written by the English poet William Lisle Bowles. This poem contrasts the life of a bee and that of a butterfly.

Methought I heard a butterfly

Say to a labouring bee:

'Thou hast no colours of the sky

On painted wings like me.'

The Cricket Sang

by Emily Dickinson

‘The Cricket Sang’ by Emily Dickinson is a memorable nature poem. It focuses on the daily routines of all living things.

The cricket sang,
And set the sun,
And workmen finished, one by one,
Their seam the day upon.

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