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Oklahoma Agriculture in the Classroom

Songs and Poems

Ants on the Melon

by Virginia Hamilton Adair

Once when our blacktop city
was still a topsoil town
we carried to Formicopolis
a cantaloupe rind to share
and stooped to plop it down
in their populous Times Square
at the subway of the ants
and saw that hemisphere
blacken and rise and dance
with antmen out of hand
wild for their melon toddies
just like our world next year
no place to step or stand
except on bodies.

Discussion and Activities
  1. How is a blacktop city different from a topsoil town? What is a topsoil town?
  2. Who are the people in the poem sharing the cantaloupe with?
  3. How is an ant pile like Times Square and a subway?
  4. Explain the use of the word "hemisphere."
  5. Explain "blacken and rise and dance."
  6. In the last three lines, the poet is comparing the ant pile to what?
  7. Find examples of personification.
  8. Find examples of metaphor.
  9. Find examples of simile.