The Madness Continues

UnknownIt’s the Sweet Sixteen over at March Madness Poetry, and I’m still in the game.  My word for this round is flagrant.  My first thoughts about flagrant had nothing to do with biology or natural history–would it be possible for me to write a non-science poem?!  Perhaps there would be a trial for some flagrant violation of the law–maybe a trial of a fairy tale character.  What about Jack from Jack in the beanstalk?  Or the giant?  Or both Jack and the giant?  I finally settled on Goldilocks, and thought of all that might be included in a summary for the prosecution and the defense of her breaking-and-entering trial. Surely Goldilocks had read the welcome mat and took it to heart.  She probably saved the house from being burned down by taking the porridge off the stove. I googled “Goldilocks trial” in case there might be other ideas lurking…and found that my idea was less than original.  There were plays, mock trials, you tube videos, and more.  Back to the drawing board.  Perhaps rules at school could be flagrantly ignored.  But by whom?

IMG_4543.5.3.10wCaterpillars, of course (so much for the non-science related poem.)  I thought about an inchworm school where caterpillars learned to pose as sticks and leaves and flowers, and didn’t move for hours.  What might happen if a flashy monarch caterpillar came along…would it flagrantly ignore the classroom rules because it’s distasteful to birds?MonarchCaterpillarI-87-8


Here’s the poem I wrote, with apologies to any and all teachers in the audience!

The Kings of the Caterpillar Class
by Buffy Silverman

Today’s the start of Inchworm School. Ms. Mothstein reads the rules:
No showing off! No gaudy clothes! Always hide and cower!
Every day wear camouflage: a stick, a leaf, or flower.

We learn to slip away on silk. We never drop our guard.
Ms. Mothstein teaches safety tricks then leads us to the yard
where two new students wait for her. They’re creeping in plain sight.

They do not hide or dive or flee while crows and jays alight.
We stare in awe. We’ve never seen such stripy, curvy crawlers.
They’re dressed in black and white and yellow—bold, majestic colors.

Ms. Mothstein gasps! She shakes a wing in disbelief and glowers.
You are not dressed like sticks or leaves. You don’t resemble flowers!
Your flagrant disregard of rules will not be tolerated!

The monarchs laugh and munch their lunch. We’ll eat until we’re sated.
No bird will bother bitter-pillars, so stop your silly fussle.

And then a crow comes flapping by. No one moves a muscle.
We hear a snap! and then she’s gone: Ms. Mothstein lost the tussle.

If you’re reading this before 9:45 pm EST on Friday, you still have time to read and vote for the poem you prefer.  Please click on this link to find my match.  There are a lot more poems to savor at

18923_originalSpeaking of teachers who I hope I have not offended, visit A Year of Reading for links to all of today’s Poetry Friday offerings!

27 thoughts on “The Madness Continues

  1. Sending all the good luck vibes I possibly can, Buffy! And just for the record, though I know you can write non-science poems, and darn good ones at that, I love that science poems have become your trademark in this tournament. Very cool.

  2. I noticed the varying rhyme scheme, then read it again, & it works beautifully, Buffy. Actually I like the poem & your others because they are based in content, & are interesting stories. It makes me “always” want to read on! Clever you! Best wishes in the MM challenge. Now I guess I get to submit some words! Oh boy, out with the dictionary!

    1. Yes, Renee, it’s a form called TheMomentOfPanicWhenYouRealizeYouHaveOneUnrhymedLineInTheOpeningAndThreeRhymedLinesAtTheEnd. I played with stanza breaks for about an hour until I found something that made this look intentional! Actually, single line in the opening was somewhat intentional because I wanted to quickly get to the rules and I thought they needed to rhyme with each other. And then I needed all 16 lines to tell the story. Maybe if I can come up with a slightly shorter name this form will be my contribution to the world of poetry.

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