The Caterpillar

Hungry—for what, it ne’er quite knows
the caterpillar feeds and grows
and now and then it sheds its skin
which, now too small for living in,
splits, and then away is cast
for it belongs, now, to the past.

The caterpillar’s somewhat scared:
it isn’t really quite prepared
to spend entire its earthly term
as a usual sort of worm.
But there’s, upon the meadow floor,
suspicion of who dare seek more.

Into the caterpillar’s head
a notion pops—to spin a thread
and spend the waning of the moon
inside a cozy silk cocoon
for none could ever spy it there,
its secret safe within its lair.

Safe within the snug cocoon
the caterpillar feels the moon
waning, changing, becoming new.
The caterpillar wants that, too,
and in its lair begins to squirm.
It knows it’s more than just a worm.

The caterpillar feels an urge
from its prison to emerge.
Forth from hiding does it come.
With stained-glass wings it greets the sun.
A newborn rainbow takes to the air
and finds a thousand waiting there.

The caterpillar is no more.
Below, upon the meadow floor,
remain the dull and flightless worms
who may never come to terms
with what transpired beneath the moon:
how a butterfly came from that worm’s cocoon.

Copyright © 1996, 2004 by Charles E. Galvin Jr.  All rights reserved.

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