Conservatives in crisis by Judith Taylor

Brexit vote sees highest spike in religious and racial hate crimes ever recorded (Independent, 7th July 2017)


Parasite turns wasp into zombie then drills through its head (New Scientist, 25th January 2017)


Bassettia pallida – the crypt

gall wasp, as it’s commonly known –


is parasitic on oak trees: under its influence

the tree makes hollow galls


in which the young of the wasp develop

till they’re ready


to eat their way out

and find their prey in the world.


But there is a smaller wasp

Euderus set – that manipulates


the manipulator. Gall wasps it infects

chew out an exit they’re not ready for;


die blocking it. And inside

the Euderus grub


whose jaws are rarely tough

enough for oak-bark, eats its host


grows strong, and when it senses spring

chews its way out to freedom


and other hosts, through a neat hole

in the gall-wasp’s head.


Which is where now

– you with the gall – you find yourself:


the thing that impelled you flown

free in the world


and you here wondering

why you can’t get moving


head all empty, jaw

chewing on air


working at nothing

but strong and stable.

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