University of Minnesota

Who Knows?

Contributed by G. Kittell

From just a tiny egg
A larva will eclose
And turn and eat its shell --
Its first meal as it grows.

Then on its host it chews
A day or three -- who knows?
And spins a sticky silk
And there its old skin goes.

This sloughed off skin it eats --
Recycling apropos;
Most growth comes soon aft molt --
When skin is soft disposed.

And three more times it molts;*
It just out eats its clothes.
From speck to near 2-inch,
Then leaves the host imposed.

Now it moves "far" and "fast" --
To pupate where? -- Who knows?
And spins a sticky mat
To where its hind legs go.

Half-a-day larva hang,
And in a "J" reposed,
Then drop into an "I"
To molt -- and too transpose.

A camouflaged pupa,
And lime-green now exposed;
A dozen days it hangs,
And then a darkening shows.

The cuticle now splits --
And this is called eclose;
The stomach rotates out,
And then the monarch grows.

The blood expands the wings,
Which pump now rather slow,
And when the monarch's dry --
It flies, to where? Who knows?

-- G. Kittell, 2007

* not counting pupation

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