Brown, crinkled things dangling
from a branch.
That’s all they are, right?
exactly what the transforming life inside
casual onlookers to see,
instead of its carefully placed chrysalis.
But today, this guise
will be shed;
next stage imminent.
Softening the hard casing, a scratch
becomes a slit,
with just enough room
to drag its reborn self
into the open.
Breaking free; possibly the greatest struggle
of its life.
A cape of folded wings,
long limbs, antennae, curled tongue –
all new, barely a hint
of prior form left –
easing from a space now several sizes
Vulnerable the entire time,
requiring a rest period
where anything might snatch
at its fragile state.
Yet the very act
of this mammoth task
activates internal hydraulics.
Fluid pumps into wing veins,
into powerful, scaled beaters.
Then: off to flowers,
toes tasting each flavour.
Deciding what’s a feast,
and what’s foul.
Unaware of the tales its species inspires
each time a human stops to notice.
Yarns of good fortune, joy, fertility, love.
The birth of a new soul,
the last passage of one who is lost.
This poem is part of a project I’m doing to raise money for the RSPB, a UK wildlife conservation and protection charity. If you’d like to help, please share this poem to encourage others to take joy in nature, and if you have the time and means to donate, you can do so here. Let’s help keep our wildlife wild!
[Apologies for how these poems are formatted. I do write them in stanzas, but WordPress rarely decides to keep them, no matter how much I argue with it.]
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