Friday, July 20, 2018

Poetry Friday -- Gobsmacked


I never tire of the wonder of caterpillars becoming butterflies. That's why I've planted two kinds of milkweed and hope with all my heart that someday the monarchs who have started visiting will lay eggs. That's why I planted both raised beds with just enough basil for occasional pesto for us and a small forest of dill and fennel for the black swallowtails. That's why I keep bringing in a few caterpillars each time they appear and raise them to butterflyhood.

This morning's gift from the universe was being present for the moment when a caterpillar who had anchored to a dill stem shrugged off its caterpillar skin to reveal the chrysalis that had formed underneath.

How often do we get to witness a miracle?

My two pages of notes will eventually become a poem (or poems), but until then, here's a reposting of a septercet I wrote in 2016 for Jane Yolen's challenge on Today's Little Ditty.

Heidi has the Poetry Friday roundup today at My Juicy Little Universe. (I'm SO feeling the title of her blog in my heart right now!)















































Everyday Miracle

Watching caterpillars morph
from worm into chrysalis
never grows old. Starting small

(teeny-tiny, truth be told)
they adopt a growth mindset --
after egg, it's grow, grow, grow.

They change caterpillar clothes
as they thicken and lengthen.
Then comes the ultimate change --

undigested food is purged,
silk belt is spun, anchoring
caterpillar, who lets go

and leans into the process.
Unseen to observing eyes,
parts that were caterpillar

shuffle, shift, reorganize.
What once began as all crawl
will become fluttering flight.


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2016


17 comments:

  1. I love this whole post, and especially the growth mindset of the caterpillars. I keep trying to follow their lead!

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  2. Lovely! Fluttering light!

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  3. "shuffle, shift, reorganize..." wonderful description, Mary Lee. Thanks for the poem and the pictures, both are lovely.

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  4. Oh lucky you! And lovely poem--I especially like the last two lines, Mary Lee.

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  5. Gobsmacked, indeed! Thank you for following Mary Oliver's "Instructions for Living a Life" so beautifully!

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  6. A miracle indeed--so glad you got to see it! I agree with Laura--those last two lines are a poem on their own.

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  7. I love the miracles of nature. My favorite images from your poem are the caterpillar changing clothes and how it leans into the process. Great word choices here! Congratulations on your new birthing.

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  8. Mary Lee, I am in awe of the process you photographed and wrote about. Like Margaret, I like the thought, "and leans into the process." I thought of students in school with growth mindsets leaning into their learning process and then, these lines captured my heart:

    shuffle, shift, reorganize.
    What once began as all crawl
    will become fluttering flight.

    A few moments ago, my daughter sent the family a short video of my grandbaby leaning into her next stage process: letting go, balancing and taking a few independent steps. What once began as all crawl
    became a fluttering flight into a balancing space for Sierra. Serendipity that I saw what I saw and then read your post. Have a great weekend.

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  9. Gorgeous, ML. And those last two lines! Congratulations! We have the milkweed and the floppy butterflies all around, but no caterpillar turned chrysalis yet! Your post makes me think about the many miracles that surround us every moment...the ones we just don't happen to see. xxxx

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  10. How lucky you are to be a witness. I have never seen a chrysalis in the wild--and very few butterflies, if truth be known. I live vicariously through your images.

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  11. Gorgeous post Mary Lee–your images and the poem, a wonderful metamorphosis. I was watching a caterpillar earlier this summer and searched high and low for a chrysalis it would make. I didn't get to experience this magic you viewed-hope I do sometime, thanks!

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  12. Wow - what a wondrous moment to capture. And I love the line "shuffle, shift, reorganize" which sums up the process so beautifully.

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  13. I love how you prepare your world to welcome wonder--plant dill and milkweed, collect caterpillars, wait, watch, etc. Add me to those who especially love the final lines of your poem. Beautiful!

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  14. It never gets old....from the egg to the spin to the wow! to the letting go. I love your words of wonder and I know you are a masterful teacher by this poem. Lovely.

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  15. Yup, juicy. Your lengthy, bolded, multiclausal sentence calls for line breaks:

    This morning's gift
    from the universe
    was being present
    for the moment
    when a caterpillar
    who had anchored
    to a dill stem
    shrugged off its caterpillar skin
    to reveal the chrysalis
    that had formed
    underneath.

    Also, thanks for the Twitter link to Joe Schwartz's posts, and also for the link at Laura's blog to Jellyfish and "Collective Names"--that's a poem if I ever saw one no matter who calls it flash fiction.

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  16. I can see why you were gobsmacked - it's moments like this that fill one with hope and wonder, two positive mindsets to hold on to these days.

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  17. It is, indeed, a miraculous thing - which you captured wonderfully, Mary Lee!

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