The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, September 22, 2000


Scarlet Tanager

Body like a hot-house

flower, he drops down

from the treetops to grapple

with a thick green chrysalis

he's found, jabbing his pale saber

beak repeatedly at the pupa's

rigorous casing (patiently,

like the grub life

slowly ripening inside),

to make initially a small

opening, then chisel

his way in, dip savoringly,

tinting his thick bill green.

Soon it will be time

to change his exotic jacket

for a sensible plain

coat to travel south in;

camouflage for the South American

jungle, banana plantation siestas;

until the zeal strikes to turn

about, come back in a blaze

for the mating season,

come back here to startle

and amaze us — you, heart

with black wings, zesty

scarlet-and-jet butterfly.

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito