Hornets in my head

Rick Hardman was one of the first people I met at the Unitarian Fellowship when I moved to Kelowna, British Columbia, in 2005. He was full of life and fun and was one of the most active volunteers in the group. He was also a talented poet, who knew how to turn a phrase so it would burrow into our hearts or make us laugh.

Then he suffered a stroke. We watched him waste away before our eyes. He dropped so many sizes we feared he was on his way to a land where no one wanted to follow.

Gradually he worked his way out of the stillness, his keen observations and sly sense of humour intact. He sent me this poem today. I laughed out loud and asked him to share it here.

Welcome back, Rick.


Photo by William Warby from wwarby Flickr photostream

The hornets have always lived in my head,
Now however, they are permanently abuzz.
That seemed to start with a hemiplegia and an aphasia in the form of a stroke
Which gave their hive a vicious kick
They’re vigilant now for any perceived rudeness, inconsideration, or tardiness of service.

They’ll take flight at the mildest offence
And they’ve found a route from inner cranium to the tip of my tongue
Where they launch themselves with stingers held aloft, aimed for any exposed tenderloin
within sight.
To their credit, they don’t discriminate, being unitarian in that way. All are fair game to their

Having hornets in your head is not necessarily a bad thing
If one aspires to join the Curmudgeon’s Guild, it is considered an asset.
Along the lines of ”sharp tongued” and pointed wit.
Oscar Wilde comes to mind.

©2011 Rick Hardman

Avispas de casa

A wasp nest is beautiful, but when it's disturbed, watch out! (Photo from felicidade's Flickr phtostream)

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11 comments for “Hornets in my head

  1. March 2, 2011 at 9:17 am

    I’m so glad that Rick is doing better now. It must have been so difficult to watch him struggle and not be able to do anything to help. 🙁

    This is a fantastic poem. I don’t normally have trouble with my temper but I do have the tendency to say weird things without thinking about what I’m saying. I may have to start blaming bumblebees. 🙂

  2. Simonne
    March 2, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    It truly is a great poem. I am pleased to see it published here! Well done, Rick! Thanks for sharing it, Cathryn.

  3. March 2, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    Lydia & Simonne – I’m so happy you checked out Rick’s poem. I love it and am thrilled he was willing to let me post it on Catching Courage. His wit, gumption & courage shine through.

  4. Kathy Pearce-Tanner
    March 2, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Really enjoyed your poem Rick, very well said!
    Keep writing and hope you will share some more:)

  5. Brian
    March 3, 2011 at 12:10 am

    Good on you Rick. I guess I’m around your age and my tinnitus from thousands of hours of flying noisy choppers may be something to do with the hornets.We don’t tend to suffer fools gladly at this stage of life but I’m trying!

  6. Wayne B.
    March 3, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Very insightful poem, Rick! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  7. March 3, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Rick sent this response to all the wonderful comments on his poem:

    My thanks to all who commented so nicely about my recent posting on Cathryn’s blog. She sets the stage so nicely I think she deserves much credit herself.

    I have to tell all, that the writers bug has bitten me and I’m keen to keep going. I find I am totally amazed at the creative process itself. Where do these things come from?


    P.S. from Cathryn – and I hope he’ll be sharing more of his writing here on Catching Courage!

  8. March 3, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I hope he will as well!

  9. March 3, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Beautiful poem.Looking forward to seeing more of your work.

  10. Judith
    July 27, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Dear Rick: I have just read “Hornets”. Boy, do you have that right!!! It was crafted by you and put out by Cathryn at a time when entire colonies of hornet’s nests were residing in my head. Bless you for putting it down so eloquently!

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