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    brown leaf on a white background

    Poem: “Autumn in Chrysalis-Time”

    By Ned Balbo

    September 24, 2022
    • David Cashman


    It’s butterfly-dying time
    Leaf-grieving and thieving time
    Blue wings-against-pavement time
    Less praise than appraisal time

    It’s foxes hightailing-it time
    Bird’s nest-unveiling time
    It’s prey-caught-dangling time
    In silk strands strangling time

    It’s wood-stoves burning up time
    First frost delivering time
    It’s whip-poor-wills woeful in time
    It’s what-you-will, winging through time

    It’s wildfire-weathering time
    Last-chance-and-gunning-it time
    Lives lost believing in time
    Least harm in leaving in time

    It’s mantises feeding off time
    What’s-past-releasing-us time
    Cold front confronting-us time
    Cicadas’ arcadian time

    It’s rainforests blazing through time
    Glaciers once greater than time
    Bee colonies bleeding through time
    Lost stars trespassing in time

    Or is it healing time
    Grave thoughts, grief leaving in time
    What’s sure to follow in time
    Foreseen in chrysalis-time

    Note: Though some butterflies and moths are known to migrate or hibernate in colder weather, the adults of most species die shortly after the end of their reproductive cycle. Offspring (formerly caterpillars) may “overwinter” in a chrysalis where they develop into butterflies.

    brown leaf on a white background

    Susanna Bauer, All Around, magnolia leaf and cotton thread, 2019. Used by permission.

    Contributed By Portrait of Ned Balbo Ned Balbo

    Ned Balbo’s six books include The Cylburn Touch-Me-Nots (New Criterion Poetry Prize) and 3 Nights of the Perseids (Richard Wilbur Award). He has received grants or fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (translation) and the Maryland Arts Council.

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