This is written for anyone who has ever suffered at the hands (or, more accurately, the mouths) of the Highland midge. Over the centuries the bear and the wolf have been hunted to extinction in the Highlands of Scotland, but it has never been remotely within the scope of possibility that its most voracious predator could ever be removed from that most remarkable of landscapes.

‘Neath oceans glides the great white shark,
In Africa, best fear the dark,
Where night is torn with eerie howls,
Where prides of lions, hungry, prowl.
There’s crocs from Oz, there’s snakes there, too,
They’ll bite, they’ll tear, they’ll feed on you.
But the greatest bloodfest of them all
Takes place ‘tween Scotland’s spring and fall.

By loch, in glen, on rocky ridge,
There lurks the evil Highland midge.
As sun descends this fearsome pack
In squadrons, moves in to attack.
With anguished yelps and flailing arms
Unwary tourists learn the charms
Of this fierce demon of the night,
Which doesn’t bark, it only bites.

The Romans came, they saw, they conquered,
Then thought, “Who lives here must be bonkers!’
History books, they don’t point out,
But I know it was the midge, no doubt,
That made them leave, and southbound haul
To build the dyke called Hadrian’s Wall.
Clans, battles, kings—all come and gone,
But the midge, it just goes on and on.

Old Scotland’s remote north and west,
Ruled by this savage, tiny pest,
Has stores that sell sprays, potions, lotions
All geared to the quite absurd notion
That if you buy them, then all day
They’ll keep the hellish hordes at bay!
Believe that, then you’re not too bright,
They still get through, and still they bite.

How horrid, awful, bad, it feels
Your face a mass of crimson weals.
The fat, the thin, the poor, the rich,
They all fall prey and how they itch!
The midge cares naught for class nor creed
It just sees all as one more feed!
To miss this slaughter just don’t roam,
Stay safe inside, stay safe at home.