Thursday
Sep202012

The Collective Noun for Dragonflies

I find that dragonflies often appear to me as half conscious cracks in my vision. Especially the neon blue damselflies which flash like halluciations. A still dragonfly on an apple branch is another thing. That was how I saw them for a long time: solitary, still or so fast that they barely register. Today I discovered another facet.

As I was persuading mortar, pointlessly as it happens, into the gaps between unruly slabs in the patio, I noticed that the flying ants had emerged from the lawn. Up from the lower parts of the garden, over the fence, the dragonflies came. Most were blood red, gashes in the air, some were bigger, black and yellow, some sky blue and green. Hunters on the wing, darting into the grass, performing impossible turns, a few at first and then dozens in the late sun, clicking and buzzing, flickering bronze. The collective noun for dragonflies is a cluster, which is just plain wrong. Some say flight, others a dazzle. They reminded me of the helicopters in Apocalypse now, coming in from the sea, and from there valykries flitting here and there over the battlefield, this way and that, plucking souls.

A valkyr of dragonflies. Now that fits.

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Reader Comments (1)

Perfect. :)
July 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

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