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The Monarch Egg

Contributed by G. Kittell

One day I picked a fine bouquet
     Of wild milkweed flowers,
Then pretty, purple, pink, perfumed
     To beautify the hours.

But on a spray of greenery,
     Then on a milkweed leaf,
I saw a tiny bit of white,
     If only but so brief.

looked again to see an egg,
     Alone upon the frond,
A tiny piece of living cell
     Which butterflies had bond.

I watched this tiny bit of life,
     This simple little round;
I watched this tiny egg turn dark
     And then a worm I found.

Now a tiny little being
     A butterfly had laid;
I watched it grow and grow and grow;
     I watched a monarch made.

'Twas dressed in black and white and gold,
     Most fitting for a king,
But by and by he ceased to eat
     And to a leaf he'd cling.

And then I watched his skin just split
     Before my very eyes;
He changed into a chrysalid,
     A truly royal prize.

But now gone was his black and white,
     Then traded for some green,
And then the green was trimmed in gold,
     The finest that I had seen.

A ring of brilliant golden jewels
     Adorned this royal prize;
Now what could be more marvelous
     Than that before my eyes?

I watched this tiny bit of life,
     This simple little round;
I watched this tiny gem turn dark;
     I watched a thing profound.

'Cause then I saw his skin just split
     Before my very eyes;
I saw a royal king emerge,
     Now born to rule the skies.

Now what could be more marvelous
     Than that before my eyes:
A pretty monarch butterfly;
     How easily it flies.

- G. Kittell, 2001

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