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A Fall Monarch

A monarch puts an egg beneath a frond,
Where there it briefly bonds
Upon this leaf 5 days,
Then hatching, eating, here it 2 weeks stays,
Abides this host till 2-inch this worm weighs,
Then ventures forth to hang --
A pupa in a day, and 10 days it will change.

'Tis then this chrysalis turns black and splits --
And butterfly exits
To hang about to dry
And then she drops and flops before she flies;
Her wings have grown with blood to sail the sky.
'Tis August's fading glow,
And monarchs hatching now, to migrate only know.

To mid-Iowa will this monarch waft,
2 weeks she southward drafts --
Kansas, Oklahoma;
By mid-October over Wichita;
By wind and instinct, causing people awe;
November, Texas stays,
December, Mexico, 3/4ths her journey's made.

By mid-December, central Mexico,
3 months these woods she'll know,
Then northward she will fly,
her orange and black-veined wings will glint the sky,
And Texas she will catch a suitor's eye,
And here a new age lays,
Which in a month flies north, but she will pass away.

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George Kittell


Poetry and Prose