Poetry Friday: Definito

photo via Unsplash

Radiant Splendor

Chrysalis comes from Greek.
“Chrysos” means gold.
A diadem is a crown
perhaps worn by a monarch, 
who is a king, queen, emperor,
or butterfly.

The diadem
of a monarch’s
is adorned with
flecks of flashing gold:
breathtaking effulgence.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2022


I had planned to let nature take her course with the butterflies this year. I would provide ample milkweed and fennel, and not bring any caterpillars inside to mature and emerge in an artificial environment. Caterpillar after caterpillar was sighted…then disappeared. We had more than the usual number of bluejays at our feeder. Was I unwittingly providing them with caterpillar snacks? Guilt took over. The next two (and as it turns out, the last two) monarch caterpillars I found came inside and were raised successfully to adulthood. I’ve lost count of the number of black swallowtails we’ve raised to adulthood, but there are currently six chrysalises that will overwinter in our garage and be the first to emerge in the spring. The world is right again.

The Poetry Sisters’ challenge this month was to write a definito — a free verse poem of 8-12 lines (aimed at readers 8-12 years old) that highlights wordplay as it demonstrates the meaning of a less common word, which always ends the poem. I collected several juicy words from the Merriam-Webster word-a-day emails I get: assiduous, perspicacious, and effulgence. They all go together in a fun way when it comes to raising monarchs: it takes assiduous care and a perspicacious eye to fully appreciate the effulgence of the gold-spangled monarch chrysalis.

Here’s what the rest of the Poetry Sisters came up with this month:
Tricia @ The Miss Rumphius Effect
Tanita @ {fiction, instead of lies}
Sara @ Read Write Believe
Laura @ Laura Purdie Salas
Liz @ Liz Garton Scanlon
Kelly @ Kelly Ramsdell
Andi @ A Wrung Sponge

Next month, we’re writing rhyming Occitan verse poems called Dansas. Will you to join us?

Tabatha has this week’s Poetry Friday roundup at The Opposite of Indifference.

22 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Definito”

  1. What a luscious sentence: “it takes assiduous care and a perspicacious eye to fully appreciate the effulgence of the gold-spangled monarch chrysalis.” I finally found and took in one lone monarch caterpillar. Fingers crossed he does everything he’s supposed to do and makes a royal chrysalis.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t stop looking at that photo, Mary Lee! It’s so…full of effulgence. Last summer I had quite a few monarch caterpillars and chrysallis on the milkweed, but this year nothing. I never put together until I read your post that the blue jays may have been snacking on more that what I put out for them at the feeder. Thank you for having the perspicaciousness to figure that out. And thanks for teaching me three new words!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m laughing at you and the caterpillars. Every year I think, “No, I need to step back from doing X in the garden,” and every year… I haven’t ever raised a Monarch, though. I think that’s a regal goal for next year – if only to see for myself the effulgence of that diadem. What toothsome poetic words!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh! This reminds me of when I worked at a nature reserve, and there was a shed just covered in monarch chrysalises! It was my favorite thing that year. Thank you for the memory, and for sharing your beautiful poem!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When the world is right again…will that be spring? I hope so.
    Love these lines best: “crown
    perhaps worn by a monarch,
    who is a king, queen, emperor,
    or butterfly.”
    So beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a conscientious, assiduous caretaker you are, and what a smorgasbord of luscious words are on display here. The radiant splendor of effulgence, yes, but I think the word diadem is so much fun to say. I love learning that the golden crown of the chrysalis can be (is?) called a diadem!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love how monarchs took center stage in your definito. The photo you chose is perfect for your poem: The gold is stunning–it’s hard to believe it occurs naturally. Wonderful definito!


  8. I had not connected the word “Chrysos” with gold, guessing that Greek has few connections to Latin. I don’t know, but your poem & sharing about Chrysos decorating the ‘diadem” & the charming way it will land when it finally emerges (another word this week). Your photo is amazing and now I want to know from where that gold comes from?


  9. This definito is lucious as far as word play is concerned. Your careful word choice opens the poems to lingering in thoughts about assiduous care of not only the soon-to-be butterfly but the presentation of a budding poem. I love the word effulgence and adore the insertion of diadem.


  10. “The world is right again.” I breathed a happy sigh of relief. 🙂 Your poem is an effulgence, Mary Lee. Thank you.


  11. What a magnificent definito, Mary Lee! I love the wordplay and the image to accompany it is stunning.
    I’ve always loved the sound of the word “effulgence,” but don’t think I’ve ever seen it used so beautifully.


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