The Cockroach by
Felicitas Donato, Malena Millán, Gastón Posse, Matias Giambruni, Lucia Frias,
Kevin Halligan, The Cockroach
I watched a giant cockroach start to pace,
Skirting a ball of dust that road the floor.
At first he seemed quite satisfied to trace
A path between the wainscot and the door,
But soon he turned to jog in crooked rings,
Circling the rusty table leg and back,
And flipping right over to scratch his wings-
As if the victim of a mild attack
Of restlessness that worsened over time.
After a while, he climbed an open shelf
And stopped. He looked uncertain where to go.
Was this due payment for some vicious crime
A former life had led to? I don’t know
Except I thought I recognised myself.
Kevin Halligan is a Canadian poet and writer who was born in
1964. His notable works include The Cockroach and his poetry
Pace: to walk with regular slow or fast paces, as in boredom, agitation, etc: to pace the room
Skirting: to form the edge of.
Trace: to follow the footprints, tracks, or traces of: The FBI traced the van back to the rental company.
Wainscot: a lining applied to the walls of a room, esp one of wood panelling
Jog: to run or move slowly or at a jog trot, esp for physical exercise
Crooked: bent, angled or winding
Rusty: covered with, affected by, or consisting of rust: a rusty machine, a rusty deposit
Flipping: to throw (something light or small) carelessly or briskly; toss
Mild: not powerful or strong; bland
Restlessness: unable to stay still or quiet
Worsened: to grow or cause to grow worse
Vicious: wicked or cruel; villainous: a vicious thug
The poem shows the human life using a cockroach as a metaphor. The whole poem
talks about the different movements of the cockroach.
The first cockroach´s movement represents the beginning of his actions and how
we, humans, change actions to cover the things that we do wrong. After that the
author, talks about the indecision that the cockroach has about his movements and
it represents how we, humans, act randomly about what to do in life.
The cockroach seems to represent the human nature with his movements.
Then, the poet starts to watch the cockroach in a more detailed way and compares
it with his own life and he finds it very similar to him.
Overall, In this poem the poet apparently focuses his concentration on an insect, but
in a powerful twist of focus the whole poem flips back to reveal that the poet himself
is actually the subject.
This poem express many ideas and attitudes.
The first idea that represents is that we are always trying to satisfy ourselves.
For example, when we are doing something and we have a problem or we
make a mistake, we want something new to satisfy us and to cover our
The second idea is that we are always moving fast and thinking of our future
without even knowing what we want for it.
The third idea represents the movements of the cockroach and how the author
recognises himself on the movements and actions of the cockroach.
Rhyme scheme: ABAB CDCD EFGEGF
Personification/metaphor: The author personificates the
cockroach with a human being using it as a metaphor.
The author also gives images for us to imagine how the
Themes: Self reflection and realization of life.