Marc Latham’s latest Folding Mirror poem was inspired by an article about trying to conserve habitat for monarch butterflies by Jill and Harold Draper in American Forests magazine. It’s available on the American Forests website.
Monarch Butterflies Migration
The article explains how monarch butterflies have an amazing migration over five to nine generations from Mexico and southern U.S.A. to northern U.S.A. and Canada.
The cycle reaches its peak when a super generation of monarch butterflies feel the first real cold weather in the north and fly to the southern point of monarch butterflies’ geographical range.
All being well, after hibernating it starts the cycle again by heading north. It dies after a few weeks, but has laid eggs, and the next generation continues the northerly migration.
The butterfly’s caterpillar only eats milkweed, while the adult feeds on multiple plants.
Several generations live short lives migrating north, before a new super generation reaches the cold, and flies south to start the cycle again.
Wikipedia explains that monarch butterflies migrate through CRY proteins in their antennas acting as a geomagnetic compass using ultraviolet light.
Monarch Butterflies Mirror Poem
Here’s the poem. The 4×4 of the title refers to the four stages of the monarch butterfly’s birth and life, and there usually being at least four generations of monarch butterfly each migration, with one being a super generation that travels a little way north, all the way south, and then a little north again.
Monarch Butterfly 4×4 Life Cycle
I am the super generation
most northern flying
and it is time
to turn south
the cycle again
egg, caterpillar and pupa; several generations live, shortly
coasting under clouds
species journey north
directed by CRY light
thousands of miles
do I remember my ancestors