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    Every Creeping Thing: True Tales of Faintly Repulsive Wildlife: “Conniff is a splendid writer–fresh, clear, uncondescending, and with never a false step; one can’t resist quoting him.” (NY Times Book Review)

    The Species Seekers:  Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth by Richard Conniff is “a swashbuckling romp” that “brilliantly evokes that just-before Darwin era” (BBC Focus) and “an enduring story bursting at the seams with intriguing, fantastical and disturbing anecdotes” (New Scientist). “This beautifully written book has the verve of an adventure story” (Wall St. Journal)

    Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time by Richard Conniff  is “Hilariously informative…This book will remind you why you always wanted to be a naturalist.” (Outside magazine) “Field naturalist Conniff’s animal adventures … are so amusing and full color that they burst right off the page …  a quick and intensely pleasurable read.” (Seed magazine) “Conniff’s poetic accounts of giraffes drifting past like sail boats, and his feeble attempts to educate Vervet monkeys on the wonders of tissue paper will leave your heart and sides aching.  An excellent read.” (BBC Focus magazine)

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Poem to a Cockroach

Posted by Richard Conniff on September 16, 2013

Going through my father’s papers, I came across a poem I wrote in about 1980.

It was an homage to the Robert Burns poem “To a Mouse“:



Omnivorous, fat, and brazen bug,

Making this tablecloth your rug,

Stirs there no panic in thy thorax

Of Roach Motel, Bug Getter, Borax?

Of anthropocentric folk who’d like

To stop your crawling with a spike?

Would you restore the social union

Of Man and Nature in communion

Here amidst the silverware?

Roach bold! Roach brave! Roach debonair!

Roach feasting on my butter stain,

My olive pits, my spilled champagne!

On tabletop where all can see

We’re joined in sweet ecology,

Blattidae blessed, ever friend!

But brotherhood’s boring. Crunch!  The end.

–Richard Conniff

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One Response to “Poem to a Cockroach”

  1. That ending suggests I was also thinking about the scene in Stanley Kubrick’s World War I film “Paths of Glory,” where the condemned soldiers are awaiting execution in the morning:

    Corporal Paris (pathetically): See that cockroach? Tomorrow morning, we’ll be dead and it’ll be alive. It’ll have more contact with my wife and child than I will. I’ll be nothing, and it’ll be alive.
    Private Ferol (the cynic, smashing the roach with his hand): Now you got the edge on him.

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