More from Red Wing Park (and a Publication Note)

Red Wing Park is one of my favorite places to visit when I crave a short walk. Or when I’m in the mood for butterflies. Yesterday, I discovered several new attractions, including lotus blooms in an artificial pond and a skink basking on the pond’s rock border.

Butterflies were out in droves, even a few species I have never seen before. (Add these to the Snowberry Clearwing Moths in yesterday’s post…)

I caught several images of a large, unfamiliar swallowtail. I can’t tell if these are Pipevine Swallowtails or Spicebush Swallowtails. Maybe both species were present? Any ideas?

One individual had a mangled hindwing, with more than half of the wing amputated. In marked contrast to the other butterflies, this one struggled in flight. It flailed and fluttered along in short spurts, stopping to perch on flowers rather than hovering as it drank. It continued to feed and flirt with its companions, but it was decidedly less agile.

As far as wing injuries go, this was as bad as I’ve seen. I felt an uncomfortable surge of empathy, and I couldn’t help but wonder if the wound was painful. The encounter has turned me philosophical.

It’s just a butterfly. An insect. An ephemeral creature, at best. And yet, its fate affected me. I am reminded of that jaded cliche about chaos theory, the one where a butterfly flaps its wings in one part of the world, causing an alteration in the weather pattern of another part of the world. What of this butterfly’s damaged wing? What currents of change might eddy in its wake?

Publication note:  My poem “The Road” was published at vox poetica this week. It is now posted on the poemblog. Many thanks to editor Annmarie Lockhart!

Monday, May 28

A moth, a dragonfly, and a new publication. Little things, yes, but most days are made of little things.

Publication note:  My poem “The Congresswoman’s Brain” was published on vox poetica’s today’s words page over the weekend. It is now on the poemblog. Many thanks to editor Annmarie Lockhart!

Inspiration and Happy Accidents

This crocus is a bit late because it had to penetrate the husks of last year’s ginger lilies. Most of my poems happen like this, sprouting in the dark. Pale, nebulous tendrils of urgency. A few die in this phase, too weak to persevere. Others toughen in time, burrowing through sheaves of revision. They emerge with varying degrees of definition and emphasis. The best ones bloom.

One of my recent poems followed a much different course.

A few days ago, I watched part of a program about ancient gods. The segment dealt with Medusa. Later in the day, unable to get Medusa off my mind, I googled her. I chose the first link, which was Wikipedia. Then I clicked another link, and another, and another, straying through topics that eventually had nothing to do with Medusa. I tired of links before I tired of reading, and my mouse wandered into a cache of poetry bookmarks. I soon landed on the vox poetica prompts page.*

The current prompt reverberated for me. Until that moment, my rambling Medusa research had yielded only a vague field of oscillating ideas. The photo collapsed it into a poem particle, which coalesced, with very little input on my part, into “Ceto, in Decline, Calls Out to Medusa”. It’s the rarest type of poem, in my world. One that writes itself and requires only fidgety revisions to clarify meaning and capitalize on sound. (It will remain posted on the prompts page until the prompt changes.)

I’m always delighted by creations, like the Medusa poem, that occur as random accidents. Like this robin photo, which was a mistake, a miscalculation of light that produced an image I could never have planned. I’m happy to live in such a world, where serendipity matters.

* If you aren’t familiar with vox poetica, I recommend setting aside some time to explore. Publisher Annmarie Lockhart is a tireless advocate for poetry and poets. Her website is a treasure. There’s a new poem every day, an archived poemblog, links to her blog talk radio show, and a number of different ways to contribute. If you write poetry, why not submit something?