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Get ready to hear from northern Illinois’ “prose pros." Poetically Yours airs Fridays during Here and Now at 12:31 and All Things Considered at 6:18 p.m. Hosted by WNIJ Arts Reporter Yvonne Boose, you will hear voices from northern Illinois poets as they share their words about the world around them. This weekly segment will give you a moment of pause and reflection as your wind down the week. If you would like to submit a poem for consideration, please send submissions to yboose@niu.edu

Poetically Yours Ep. 41 - Ladybugs Invade Poet's Home

photo provided by Paula Morhardt.

Paula Morhardt started writing when she was a child. She’s had poems published in various small magazines but in 2017, her life changed. 

On the morning of Nov. 14, Morhardt found her husband of 42 years dead in his chair. He died in his sleep. The next day, her mother passed away.

Morhardt blogged, “I have lost my two best friends. I cannot call mom and cry about losing my husband, and neither can I feel his arms around me and his voice rumble in his chest while I cry about mom.”

In 2019, Morhardt self-published with Amazon and, “Widow’s Walk: How My World Ended And What Happened After” was released to the world. Her moment of greatest despair became her moment of saving grace. She has since published “Widow’s Tears of Sorrow, a companion book of poetry. In 2020, she found a publisher and hasn’t stopped since. A list of her books can be found here.

Morhardt spends each day learning how to live as a widow. She spends as much time as possible with her grandchildren. She has vegetable and flower gardens, and a fruit orchard. In her spare time, she quilts, sews, and works on her scroll saw.

Today’s segment features her poem “Fly Away Home.”

Ladybugs are in my house. 

I find them everywhere. 

They fly around, 


I capture them, and release them 


They fly away, 

But I think they are only waiting for me to leave the doorway. 

They sneak inside when I’m asleep, 

Crawling through cracks too small to see. 

They search until they find me sleeping, 

Then crawl around on my pillow and face. 

I have learned the art of brushing at my head in my slumber. 

I must make a strange picture, indeed. 

During the day, 

They dive-bomb me. 

What are they searching for? 

What do they want from me? 

I am not the one who 

Brought winter. 

I have no answers for them, 

No explanations. 

I shall tell them to ask the caterpillars, 

Or the swallows. 

When they leave, 

Winter arrives. 

Perhaps the Ladybugs could get an answer from them. 

I only know I am tired of being harassed by small 

Things, crawling on me. 

I would quote them the rhyme, 

But their house is my house, 

And fire would be a last resort. 

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.