(commended by Gillian Clarke at Poetry on the Lake in 2012).
He leads her in the dance above
flat lily-pads and mirrored sky.
He clasps her thorax with his tail
lifts her up, lets her down
to dip and dip and dip her eggs
through the meniscus.
This is their glorious time
laid down in their DNA
was what they both were dreaming of
when as brown nymphs with mandibles
and ugly masks they crept and lurked
among minnows and frondy weeds.
All through that watery year
they dreamt of a day in June
when they’d escape, crawl up a reed,
slough the brittle carapace
push out four glittering wings
and fly! Fly! Fly!
They’ve done their time below
no longer need to grow
but hover shimmy whir
beneath the sky and show
their sapphires to the world
and make love in the air.