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Rhyme: Play or Labour

Make Hay While It Shines

I’ve written this short rhyme for kids and teens. It came to me when I remembered the story I read as a school kid—the tale of lazy hoppers and busy ants. The ants were seen as losers because they had no time for frivolities. Indeed, the ant clan spent most of their time gathering food for the coming winter while their garrulous neighbours threw parties day and night. Soon the cold winter arrived, and with it, a drought of grains and leaves. The hoppers came to beg for food, but the ants won’t share as they imagined that their stored seeds would only last for the winter.

The grasshopper and their cousins, locusts and crickets, are indeed a loquacious tribe. They like pleasure and playing more than work. They live for the day and make no plans for the future. In real life, these insects swarm to destroy farmlands. This act is an obvious example of harvesting on/from another person’s farm and labour.

On the other hand, ants are disciplined, organised and industrious insects. They plan for the future by stocking grain and seeds. They only take as much as needed for the day and do not waste time doing anything.

Maybe, just maybe, there’s a lesson we can pick from the two. I hope.

Play or Labour

Play green locust, hop
Take a swerve, make a loop
Watch days turn into dismal years

Labour brown ant, toil
Morn and noon dig the soil,
Gather seeds before bitter winter


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