I live a few miles from a poetry trail. ( First off, how cool is that?)
In Newport State Park, a ½ mile walk winds first through a gorgeous stand of deciduous forest and then meanders through a prairie.. Twelve stanchions invite walkers and hikers to pause for a few minutes along their way to read beautifully crafted words.
Every few months the displays change, so there are periodic calls for poets to write.
The plan was two-part: meet at the park to write poems as we’d watch the full moon rise out of Lake Michigan. Two weeks later we’d return to walk the trail and read our recently installed poems about the moon.
Things didn’t go quite as planned. Skies were overcast as my eager car-full of poets drove to the park. It began to rain as we pulled up to the beach parking lot where we had planned to watch a full moon rising. So we went inside to the nature center and dug down deep to write about the moon we weren’t watching.
Newport State Park is designated as a Dark Sky Park, so the nature center has telescopes and star charts and astronomical things. But it’s also a park full of monarch butterflies, and I was drawn to a display where nearly a hundred of them were readying themselves for flight, for migration. This poem is for them.
A Monarch Moon
The moon will rise
whether we see it or not
Carefully plotted charts
assert tonight’s rising will be at 8:01
but there is rain.
Clouds cover the beach.
We go inside to sit on tiled floor
where taxidermed animals ask us
to pretend to imagine the white globe
lifting itself into beauty
I am struck instead
by the hundred hanging chrysalis
and the scent of metamorphosis.
They need only the moony milkweed
to rise up, to resurrect