Mourning Cloak


A mourning cloak on a cool morning
on a walk through the cemetery.
It is quiet but for whispered prayers.

She touches a headstone in the sun.
Her yellow skirt escaping the dark cloak.

top view

Nymphalis antiopa, the mourning cloak, is a large butterfly native to Eurasia and North America. The immature form of this species is sometimes known as the spiny elm caterpillar which has a toxic substance in its hairs or spines that can cause a very painful reaction if you touch it,

These butterflies have a lifespan of 11 to 12 months, one of the longest lifespans for any butterfly.



How dare the robins sing this afternoon!

There is still snow on the ground

from two months ago, dirty and hard.

April may truly be the cruelest month

with lilacs sprung from dead land – but

Oh, robin! mid-March is a snow-covered cemetery.

Inspired in part by the opening line of Emily Dickinson’s poem #94  and T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland.”