Thursday, July 28, 2011


A tree full of Monarch butterflies, a phenomenon of the Monarch Mexican migration.


Shape shifting comes on
in the cabin in the wood,
snuffing the clean air
of the shifting time,
and how the skin stretches out
and the bones do things
you would think so wrong
were it not for this deep need
to be four footed,
or winged, or a small
incredibly painted one,
six legged, curled tongue
seeking God given
nectar and the chance to flash
in the sun one more
time before leaving
on Mexican migration,
following the moon.

Written this evening, July 28, 2011

A monarch butterfly rests on the hair of a young girl during a visit to the El Rosario butterfly preserve, at 10,500 feet, near the town of Anguangueo, Mexico.

"U of A faculty, students observe massive gathering of monarch butterflies in Mexico central mountains"


  1. There are certain things in this world that are just too astonishing to really comprehend, and that's when poetry seems to make the most sense of all. Three cheers for the wonder of transformations!

  2. Christopher, I am so tired that I cannot express how much I like the concept of this poem. Have a good night my friend. Word verif for the day, ingnad.

  3. That has to be the most beautiful hair ornament one could imagine...
    Strange how en masse the bright wings look dull...

  4. I really like that bit about the skin stretching and the bones...oh so wrong. I feel this when I watch dances, crumpers, ballet, street running. Oh so wrong, and I am entrhalled. I have never seen such a mass of monarchs. I would very much like to!

  5. Thanks, people. I really liked how this just "came" to me. I was reading over at Rachel's Waxing Moon and she wrote about shape shifting and I thought "butterfly" and then "Monarch". Of course there was the serendipity of the University of Arkansas site too.

  6. This is one of your richest creations, Christopher. I've been processing it slowly. I love the photo of the girl with the butterfly. She reminds me of my daughter, who is the sort to go around with a butterfly in her hair, too.

  7. So I was thinking about your poem, and this is where it led me in the end.

    The moult

    At first it felt so good,
    so exhilarating to be free
    from the prison
    of that cursed, confining shell.

    I could breathe again,
    even shout, expanding
    my chest broad as rubber,

    and I could twist
    front to back, loose and lithe.

    But slowly I became lost,
    forgetful of who I was
    and there was just that hollow,
    feeling that comes with twilight,
    the cooler nights
    and voices distant,
    but nobody close.

    My limbs slowed
    and I sought out a rock,
    or some safe refuge to salt
    my soft new bones.

  8. The girl with the butterfly... I have thought a couple things... If you go to the Mexican highlands and settle in for the show, it will go much more intimately than you may think. If the butterflies are that dense, they are also basically fearless because all that is around them are brothers and sisters. You will hear them, feel them, smell them. Of this I have no doubt.

    Another thought... a memory. In my front yard, talking with my across the street neighbor at my fence line. I look back over my left should and there's a Tiger Swallowtail just sitting on a twig. I go over. It doesn't move. I stick out my finger and it steps right on it. I carry the butterfly back to my friend. We both look closely for a little while. Then it flies off. My heart breaks and joy spills out. It still does when I bring it up. I once had the privilege of a butterfly's acceptance.

    That would be a normal thing in the middle of the Monarch migration to the central highlands of Mexico.

  9. Beautiful, Rachel. I will reply soon.

  10. I like your idea of a butterfly's acceptance - I once had one sit on my hand for many minutes, and I too, felt privileged. ♥

  11. were it not for this deep need
    to be four footed,
    or winged, or a small
    incredibly painted one

    even though i can't shapeshift i am so grateful i can see peace through the four footed,
    or winged, or a small
    incredibly painted one
    . this is enough for me - for now.

    i agree with rachel. one of your best.



The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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