Poetry Friday: Dormancy

I’m endlessly fascinated by the intricacies of nature.

Black Swallowtails don’t migrate. The last brood of caterpillars to hatch sense the approach of fall: the length of the days shorten, and the weather begins to cool. These last caterpillars go into diapause before the pupa hardens into a chrysalis, producing their own form of antifreeze to prevent their cells from freezing. On the other end of winter, these butterflies who have overwintered in chrysalis emerge as the first generation of Black Swallowtail butterflies in the spring.

Carol has this week’s Poetry Friday roundup at Beyond LiteracyLink — AND the unveiling of her Bedecked in Autumn Gallery. With the Poetry Sisters’ challenge to write a ode to Autumn coming up next week, we’ll be celebrating Autumn for two weeks in a row!

16 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Dormancy”

  1. I love this poem of praise for the swallowtail. Did you take it in for its overwinter time? My colleague has one last chrysalis to hatch of her huge crop of monarchs this fall. Nature is amazing.

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    1. We did, Margaret. 🙂 There were about 8 that we could see on the fennel in early/mid-October. I let the other 7 go wandering and find their spot for the winter (being SUPER careful now about putting the rest of the garden to sleep!!) but we kept one. We had good luck with the ones who overwintered in our garage last year.

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  2. A beautiful poem, Mary Lee! I love how we both care about butterflies and educate through our poems regarding these species. As an environmental educator, I thank you for using the appropriate vocabulary, including chrysalis, pupa, and diapause.

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  3. Wonders to us & grand praise but they do what they know, don’t they? I am careful to leave quite a layer on the garden & this year has been particularly hard. We have had only one freeze, so I’ve only raked in the beds a little bit. It’s been so, so dry. I love the ending of your poem, Mary Lee, like a fairytale ‘happily ever after’.

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  4. The gentle unfolding of your poem impresses., and then you provide a rich bounty of additional information to sate my curiosity as a student of nature. Thank you, Mary Lee. Your knowledge of and interest in these amazing creatures has served all of us well.

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  5. From the wild jungle of fennel to the bright season this is exquisite. I love the word dormancy ever since Margie Fincham Atkins book, Wait, Rest, Pause….this is like a page-spread from that book.

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  6. Mary Lee, I love this thought: “in the wild jungle of fennel.” Dormancy is the right title for such a lovely ode. I smiled when I saw you on FB. I hope the weather was not too cold for you fly fishing fun.

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  7. You’ve captured so much in your small poem, Mary Lee. I suspect we’ll see more than just a swallow tail emerge at the end of the winter–perhaps another poem will also take flight?

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  8. Beautiful Ode to the Swallowtail Mary Lee, I love the cyclical rhythm you created in the 2nd and 4th lines. We had a swallowtail overwinter in our home in a large plastic container and sure enough come spring they emerged–what fun. Your image and title with ” Withering Jungle of Fennel” are wonderful and magical too, thanks!

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