University of Minnesota

Against All Odds

Contributed by George Kittell

                     AGAINST ALL ODDS


It was the 8th of October on Lake of the Isles

And so far our paddling approached some 5 miles;

     The wind was near calm, a bit from the north,

     And the temp was the coldest this fall going forth.


46 degrees and noon was the hour,

And over us nary a cloud as we plowered;

     'Twas then we encountered an orange butterfly --

     One that was floating, unable to fly.


A monarch, a male, I could tell by the spots,

And fated to migrate, though this one could not;

     I picked up the critter and laid in the boat,

     Understandably wet and for how long afloat?


It lay in the sun by my spare paddle's shaft,

Its orange wings outstretched in the bed of our craft;

     From Lake of the Isles we entered Calhoun,

     And now it was probably quarter-past-noon.


'Twas then that the butterfly started to shake,

It quivered and shivered, if cold, to me spake;

     It crawled on the shaft of my paddle, the spare,

     A blink of my eye it was up in the air.


It sailed in the north wind, then ever so slight,

And in a few seconds it was out of sight;

     A mile it needed to traverse this lake,

     But great are the odds that a whole journey takes.


Only above 50 degrees can it fly,

Now late to migrate and with worsening sky,

     2000 miles with incredible odds,

     Southwest for weeks it relentless must plod.


                                                 G. Kittell

                                                 Oct 2016

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