Posts Tagged ‘monarchs’

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

This month of February has been rich for my writing life. I’m writing at least one poem a day along with other writers in Laura Shovan’s 10th Annual February Project on Facebook. The theme this year is Time. Susan Brisson posted a prompt that began like this: “Tiny moments in time, brief exchanges with nature, split seconds of seeing something so beautiful, as fast as the flash of your camera or the time it takes for your thoughts to travel from your eyes to your brain. Have you ever had such a moment? Not a life changing moment but a mood changing moment.”

I immediately thought of releasing monarchs. I’ve been raising monarchs in my kitchen since Christmas. We’ve had a few freezes, so I collected them from my own garden as well as a school garden. I had around 20 caterpillars that successfully made 11 chrysalises. Of those 11, 8 have eclosed into beautiful butterflies. They’ve all been males. They have to be released in temperatures above 50 degrees.

One afternoon last week I released two of them onto outdoor plants. When I checked the next morning, they were still there and completely still. One was even flat on the ground. I brought them back into the enclosure in my kitchen. After warming up, they actually revived, but getting them to let go and fly took a bit of coaxing.


The male monarch
emerged whole
and beautifully designed,
contrast of orange and black wings.

On the day of release
I gently placed my finger near his tiny legs.
He held me so tight my skin tingled.
We walked together.

I tried to coax him to fly,
but he clung, walking gingerly up my arm. Not ready
to let go.
Not ready
to fly.

I held him on my shoulder like a baby.
Then, as a mother knows best,
laid him down
and let him go.

He flew away.
I remember his touch.

Margaret Simon, draft

It’s time to sign up for the Kidlit Progressive Poem for National Poetry Month. The sign up post is here.

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Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

My mind has been on hearts and monarchs. For Valentine’s Day, I gave each of my students a small canvas to create a heart-inspired art piece. We looked at Pinterest images and got inspired. They enjoyed spending time focused on design and playing with paint.

Heart art by Jaden

In my email inbox, the Poetry Foundation Poem-of-the-Day was a concrete poem in the shape of half of a heart. I used the idea to create a poem for Laura Shovan’s poetry challenge. It was a challenge. I managed to make the shape, but I’m not sure if I managed a cohesive poem.

Margaret Simon, draft 2022

I came home to find four monarchs hanging out in my butterfly enclosure. Such beautiful creatures. I am worried, though, because we are still having cold temperatures. I released two of them in the afternoon 60 degrees. Today the temps will climb to 70, so I’ll release the other two.

Three monarchs
Released male monarch on fern

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Inklings Challenge from Catherine this month: “Write a mathematical poem, such as a fib, pi poem, nonet, etc.” I forgot all about it, so this poem is a bit of a LaMiPoFri* poem. I wanted to try a nonet. I remembered Janet and Sylvia’s advice to write about what you know. I’ve been tending monarch caterpillars in my kitchen for weeks. There have been some losses, but today I am happy to report 9 healthy looking chrysalises and another caterpillar in J formation. I still have 4 free roaming caterpillars on very little milkweed and butternut squash.

Our country once again is in the midst of severe cold storms that bring ice and snow. Here in South Louisiana we are expecting freezing temperatures in the wee hours of the morning. We will not get snow or ice, the meteorologist predicts. All of that came together in this draft of a nonet. I used Canva to make it look all pretty. Thanks for reading.

For other Inkling responses to the challenge:

Linda Mitchell
Molly Hogan
Catherine Flynn
Heidi Mordhorst
MaryLee Hahn

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Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.

My milkweed/monarch journey began a little more than a year ago in a school garden. There I met Meadow. (Yes, Meadow is the name of a naturalist in our area.) She taught me about capturing monarch caterpillars and caring for them through emergence to a butterfly. (Slice of Life post here.)

I wanted some host plants of my own, so I took cuttings from the garden and planted them in a flower bed. This spring while sheltering at home, I was able to nurture caterpillars on my screen porch.

In May, I was visiting a friend, safely distanced in her backyard, and she gave me a few milkweed seed pods. I had no idea how to cultivate them, but I planted them in two pots of potting soil and kept them watered.

Milkweed seed pods

A miracle of Mother Nature, the seeds sprouted. I had 42 little seedlings about 3 inches high. I could have taken a few and planted them in my flower bed, but what about all the others? I couldn’t bear the thought of letting them die.

I ordered some cheap plastic pots on Amazon, and planted each little sprout. Putting out a call on Facebook, I had some takers. The surprising part for me was how excited the receivers were. And how welcomed the visits!

On Sunday, Sisters Sarah and Emily came by to “rescue” some seedlings. I taught Emily in elementary school. She is now headed to 10th grade, so it was great to see her. (Oh, how I just wanted to hug her!)

Mary and Brittany arrived at the same time, donning masks and staying distanced. We had a wonderful time getting to know each other in a more intimate way than Facebook allows.

On Monday, I delivered seedlings to some friends and took a walk through a beautiful backyard and met a new grandbaby.

This morning, I noticed an opened seed pod on one of my milkweed plants. The cycle continues…

Milkweed seed pod

Milkweed seeds provide life for the butterfly and hope for this lonely planet, as well as Joy to this lonely planter.

Notice the green seed pods on the milkweed plant.

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