How to Attract the Ladies



“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
― Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady


Take a moment

the span of a cup of tea

which runneth over with ladybirds

if you will


direct your gaze

away from yourself

it’s not as hard as it seems

even though you are most fascinating

and observe

someone else

other than your good self


this lady over here

teetering primly

on my (rather dirty) thumbnail

what made her choose

this place to be

as she is

was it perhaps due to other places

in this tea cup

being taken

and thus she had to

rearrange herself

maybe she wants to be alone

if she does

she has chosen the wrong place to be


my tea cup runneth over

with ladies

I am truly unsure

whether this is good fortune

or a plague

signalling things to come

either way

my tea cup

runneth over

with ladybirds

how did I attract them

I did nothing

and this seemed to suffice

to make me attractive

to be honest

if such a thing as being honest exists

it is not me

but my house

which these ladies find alluring

perhaps this is the home

to which they fly to

when people sing

ladybird ladybird fly away home

in their hundreds they are


at first little dots on a blue sky

winging their way

and gathering together

on white walls

then breaking and entering

through windows which aren’t well fit

into my house

I am not exaggerating

(how do you think I collected so many in this cup)


“Sometimes she went so far as to wish that she should find herself in a difficult position, so that she might have the pleasure of being as heroic as the occasion demanded.”
― Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady


2 thoughts on “How to Attract the Ladies

    • A few tried to crawl up my arm to hibernate in my sweater.

      I had a childhood flashback too. One Summer my parents hired a car to visit a friend who had a country pile. The hire car broke down halfway there and we were stuck on the side of the motorway for hours on an unusually hot day. While my parents were fighting over ownership of the fault and blame of this terrible inconvenience and ruination of their plans, I wandered down into this gully beside the road and discovered hundreds of ladybirds which made that day magical, wonderful and perfect. As far as I was concerned we had reached our destination.

      What’s happening now is both beautiful and annoying – this many ladybirds outside of the house is a natural treat, inside the house it is a Halloween trick. They have a tendency to dive bomb lights at night and people too if they’re near the light. Sometimes when asleep they crash into your head. Eventually they’ll settle down and cluster together in corners – they were hibernating in the house when we moved in this time last year, so they’re returning to their home for Winter.

      From what I can gather they are Harlequin ladybirds and they’re an invasive species (brought in by humans as an ecological pest control in farming) which has been accused of causing the decline of UK ladybirds. I read an article about something similar happening right now at a place called Wollaton Hall –

      It’s rather fascinating!


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