University of Minnesota

The Transformation

Contributed by George Kittell





A butterfly would place an egg

      On the underside of a leaf,

And for 5 days it hung head down

      And then a new worm ate its sheath.


And for 2 days it dined on frond

      And then it spread a silken mat,

To which this worm became attached,

      Then left its sloughed off skin on that.


Then next it ate this just shed skin,

      But soon was menaced by a bug,

So dropped down on a rope of silk

      To circumvent this parlous thug.


Again it spread a gooey mat

      To which its tightened skin would stick

And crawled out of this 2nd cape –

      A meal which it would digest quick.


For 2 more days it chomped on leaves

      But then was threatened by some ants,

So dropped within a compact ball

      Among the lower lying plants.


Then 2 more times it shed its skin,

      A dozen days this larva grew,

But aft the latest larval molt

      It left to find someplace anew.


It wandered maybe 30 yards

      And climbed a chestnut bush, quite young,

And spread a sticky silken mat

      And by its hind legs there it hung.


A dozen days it hung head down,

      Then changed in color, green to black,

And come the morning, half-past dawn,

      There came an unperceptive crack!


The gut rotated high to low ‒

      Was full of body building blood;

Its head now up and wings enfold,

      Expanding per the juices flood.


In several minutes grew full size

      Then several hours till it’s dry;

Its pupal waste is then expelled

      And then this newborn butterflies.



G. Kittell

Mar 2017

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