One of the highlights of my summer was sharing our dining room table with a pair of monarch caterpillars. Several years ago I planted swamp milkweed at the edge of our swampy lake, and now we’ve got a healthy crop of milkweed. The original plants were cast-offs from a research project of one of my husband’s grad students. I picked some milkweed flowers for a reception in honor of said graduate student after she defended her thesis this summer. A couple of days later I noticed two teeny monarch caterpillars on the flowers! For weeks I photographed the caterpillars as they nibbled and grew, and then changed into chrysalids.
I often use my photographs as poetry prompts, so this summer’s caterpillars starred in a couple of my summer swap poems. My talented daughter did the layout of all my swap poems. The first one, for Linda Baie ( this week’s poetry friday host,) was written when the caterpillars were barely visible as they munched flower buds.
About 10 days later the caterpillars had grown almost as long as the milkweed leaves they were devouring, and then changed into chrysalids. I posted quite a few photos of the kids on Facebook, and Vicky Lorencen commented that she liked their striped pajamas. Striped pajamas led me to think about clown suits. That circus image inspired my next summer swap poem, written for Keri Collins Lewis:
We were out-of-town when the first butterfly emerged, but I got to watch and photograph the second one. I’ll refrain from posting the hundreds of photos I took…but you can scroll down and enjoy a bit of the magic:
Happy Poetry Friday!