Friday, September 16, 2016

Everyday Miracle: A Septercet

Everyday Miracle

Watching caterpillars morph
from worm into chrysalis
never grows old. Starting small

(teeny-tiny, truth be told)
they adopt a growth mindset --
after egg, it's grow, grow, grow.

They change caterpillar clothes
as they thicken and lengthen.
Then comes the ultimate change --

undigested food is purged,
silk belt is spun, anchoring
caterpillar, who lets go

and leans into the process.
Unseen to observing eyes,
parts that were caterpillar

shuffle, shift, reorganize.
What once began as all crawl
will become fluttering flight.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2016

The Ditty of the Month challenge at Today's Little Ditty, issued by Madam Jane Yolen, was to write a septercet, a form she invented in which each verse (as many verses as you want) needs to have three lines, each with seven syllables. It can be rhymed or not. The challenge was also (I just realized) to make your septercet feature reading and/or writing. Oops. Maybe mind is about reading the natural world.


  1. Well done! Like many formal poetic structures, it's both a girdle/belt/exoskeleton as well as a force of liberation. Your last two lines are killer!


  2. What a great series of pictures! I love the way you worked the growth mindset into this poem, Mary Lee.

  3. Those last two lines really sell this poem for me. As Jane said, they're killer!

  4. Wow! So impressed with what you did with such a strict structure. Wondering how it felt to write it and if the constraints led you in ways unknown before you wrote.

    I agree that the last two lines are terrific! And on the other side of the lens of those photos is your persistence and wonder at this always marvelous process and you observe and document.

    Finally, I really liked these lines:
    "silk belt is spun, anchoring
    caterpillar, who lets go

    and leans into the process."
    which seems to me like such a wonderful way to live a life. I will think of this caterpillar as I try to spin my own "silk belt" and I will encourage our classroom community to do the same.


  5. Lovely concept & lovely poem! I am also fascinated by that metamorphosis. Now you've inspired me to try the form!