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Insects in Poetry: Rise Like Butterflies: A Poem for Today

Tim Truzy is a poet, short-story author, and he is currently working on several novels.

(Tiger Swallowtails) Watching butterflies can remind us of our innocence.

(Tiger Swallowtails) Watching butterflies can remind us of our innocence.

Getting Butterflies

I enjoy watching butterflies when they come my way. It’s a springtime blessing. They flit and flirt about, finding nectar and putting on a spectacular display of colors. As a child, I would chase them through my parents’ garden and sit and marvel at them in the meadow near our house. Occasionally, I would manage to hold one for a few moments. I was always nervous, but the butterflies in my hand ran off those butterflies in my stomach.

Today, I can still experience the serenity brought on by the presence of these gorgeous creatures. Near my home there is a collection of butterflies brought from across the world. At the N.C. Life and Science Museum in Durham, nothing is more pleasurable than watching these insects as they speed from plant to plant or lazily go about their business. We have been there when the museum workers released new residence at the butterfly house, and the children near us were ecstatic, much like I used to be. I applauded when a few children were able to convince some of the butterflies to land on their shoulders or even in their hands. Indeed, butterflies inspire feelings of freedom, calmness, and innocence with their roaming.

Below is a poem dedicated to these fantastic creatures. However, I also dedicate this poem to the poet and caring soul, Dr. S. Gorski, who joined us at the butterfly house and has extensive knowledge about these insects. As always, Lori did a spectacular job with the photos. May we all “Rise like Butterflies!”


(Painted Lady) Butterflies are fascinating and fun to observe.

(Painted Lady) Butterflies are fascinating and fun to observe.

Rise Like Butterflies!

Butterfly flapped feeding on fragile flower,

Stalling skyward flight from nectar’s Heaven,

A peace esoteric to those with wings,

My arms upward lifted in tautology.

Diminutive dreams driving delusions,

Circumlocution express desires,

Overruled biological verdict,

Standing feet taking me only higher.

Graveyard men marching respectfully by.

Garden cemetery harvesting bodies,

Gargantuan pasquinade my expense,

Gauche scion of air owes no apologies.

Monarchs gone royalty in flight no more,

Nibble flowers digest wild wind with wings,

Swallowtails prancing glorious gentle breeze,

My hands holding tremble upon these things.

Painted ladies colors’ still tingling,

Swooping, flitting, floating aloft and aloof,

Alarming soft beauty swirling away,

Caterpillars returning confirm truth.

Monarchs compete with other creatures, such as humans, for natural habitat.

Monarchs compete with other creatures, such as humans, for natural habitat.

Palm massaged by your floating soft tickle,

Emperor of empathy extricate,

Tremendous transcendent Empyrean,

Curve raised replace rains cloudless sulphur.

Worries glide effortlessly through your view,

Melancholy flutters to distant meadow,

Sadness seeks sacrificial altar,

And I rise with monarchs to see His Home.

Tiny blue active with life bowdlerize,

Short time to dine and mate before moments gone,

Lugubrious in my meditations,

Like your brief stay can I fly to meet dawn?

Give me the silver of iridescence,

On fritillary happy butterfly,

Venturing the globe and across country,

Telling troubles season is now denied.

Let Mercy be my nectar and passion,

Drinking from a blooming morning glory,

Let Gentleness be my fragrant flower,

Rising aware beautiful butterflies.

(Palomedes Swallowtail) Butterflies can teach us a lot about enjoying life.

(Palomedes Swallowtail) Butterflies can teach us a lot about enjoying life.


(Cloudless Sulphur) Butterflies are interesting insects for many reasons.

(Cloudless Sulphur) Butterflies are interesting insects for many reasons.

Fun Facts About Butterflies

Butterflies are truly fascinating. Although they are prey, a butterfly can camouflage itself by folding its wings. In fact, the scales on the wings reflect sunlight, but the butterfly wings are transparent when the scales are lost as the insect ages. In addition, butterflies live on liquids as adults with nectar being their primary food source. Yet, these insects’ taste receptors are on their feet. Because butterflies are cold-blooded, they require temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit to fly.

However, a butterfly’s life is short. Most of these insects live two to four weeks. The blues live only a few days, but the monarchs may thrive for nine months. As you explore these wondrous insects, I’ve provided some information about the butterflies seen in the photos in this article in order for you to enjoy knowledge about them for a lifetime:

  • Fritillary: These butterflies prefer violets for food. They share their name with a flower, possibly because of the characteristic checkered pattern on both. The name “fritillary” is used to describe several butterfly groups, such as the Gulf fritillary. Another group is known as the great spangled fritillary. Regardless of the different names, these insects can be found in fields, valleys, and even on mountains. They like moist and warm locations. These butterflies are quite plentiful across North America and planet Earth.
  • Monarch Butterfly: This beautiful insect is known for yearly migrations from the United States and Canada down to Mexico. Other common names for the monarch butterfly include: milkweed, black veined brown, wanderer, and common tiger. Although the monarch population has declined, the butterfly is not currently listed as endangered. Yet, scientific estimates indicate approximately 225 million are needed to stabilize the population of these insects. The monarch butterfly is recognized as a useful pollinator; but much of the insects' habitat has been loss due to herbicides. However, the monarch butterfly has been bred aboard the International Space Station.
  • Painted Lady: The painted lady is seen across the globe, except for a few places. It is frequently called the “cosmopolitan butterfly” because of its ubiquitous nature. The painted lady butterfly is part of a family of insects known as “brush foot” butterflies. These colorful insects dine on any number of fruits and vegetables, including oranges, okra, and water melons. During migration, painted lady butterflies can travel about 100 miles a day with maximum speeds of about 30 mph.
  • Swallowtail: The swallowtail butterflies are generally large. They may feed on a variety of plant life, including citrus blossoms. There are over 500 species of swallow tails with names such as: spicebush, black, and birdwing. The swallowtail butterflies are found around the world except for in the extreme northern and southern portions of the globe.
  • Cloudless sulphur: This butterfly is originally from Argentina, but it can be found throughout the southern U.S. During warmer seasons, many of these butterflies are scattered from Texas through North and South Carolina. This insect lays cream colored eggs which change to orange later. As a fully developed adult, the cloudless sulphur is yellow in color. The host for the cloudless sulphur is the pea plant or similar poisonous plants. This insect prefers environments such as parks, woodlands, and yards.


Frost, T., & Davies, A. L. (2017). The little guide to butterflies. London: Quadrille.

Morgan, S. (2019). The world encyclopedia of butterflies & moths: A natural history and identification guide to over 565 varieties around the globe. Wigston, Leicester: Lorenz Books, an imprint of Anness Publishing.

Rabe, T., Ruiz, A., & Mathieu, J. (2007). My, oh my-- a butterfly!: All About Butterflies. New York: Random House.

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