Thursday, August 30, 2012

the butterfly affidavits

Here are the responses received to my request for butterfly sightings. I kept them in order, edited them very slightly and think they make a wonderful and sometimes quite beautiful testament. Thank you to everyone who participated. The winner of the subcription to Wilder Quarterly will be announced at 6pm this evening!

the butterfly affidavit

parkfriend's butterfly bush flourished this year
bringing monarchs to her yard
but what are the white ones?

marianne in st paul
has seen butterflies in her daughter's sunny garden

jane aston found supermarket flowers
for her painted ladies peacock admirals tortoiseshells
and meadow varieties in isolated france

paul w in central virginia
says it is not the middle of nowhere
and it has buckeyes monarchs variegated frits tiger swallowtails
spicebush swallowtails spotted purples wood nymph yesterday
scads of skippers eastern tailed blue and silvery checkerspots

belinda@wild acre has seen few
cabbage whites brimstones common white heath
but has memories
of clouds of brightly colored butterflies
in her granny's garden

eileen in southeastern virginia
sold parsley to a customer as long as she took the caterpillars too
she has seen astyanax viceroys compton tortoisehells monarchs buckeyes painted lady
golden banded skipper black eastern tiger palamedes
spicebush and zebra swallowtails
and various other skippers and duskywings

jennie has moved across a nameless state
to a dry part
she saw monarchs swallowtails fritillaries wood nymphs and painted ladies

diana minna says the monarchs are massing in toronto
carboloading for the crossing of lake ontario
they graze on her phlox and bergamot
so lovely a little sad
because they are the end of summer

georgie wonders if cabbage months count
but she has monarchs too in seattle

madeleine in nova scotia saw a mustard white
and lots of monarchs on pink echninacea

sasha saw many butterflies
on the yakima river in washington
but none that she knew
west from home

hen wants to know if the cabbage whites
have a green tinge to their wings
the same as the ones
that arrived in the cape on a russian container?

diane st john plants for butterflies
she has seen painted ladies monarchs tiger swallowtail and black
spicebush swallowtails and cabbage loppers

unknown is bearing witness to streams of butterflies
drawn by her zinnias
they are orange and black and grey with white spots

petoskystone lives in the connecticut valley
it has been the worst season for butterflies
a few cabbage whites perhaps and some monarchs
that's it

alexa in dc has seen quite a few monarchs
in the past month or so
they like the  agastache and bronze fennel

angela parker in oregon
has seen mostly cabbage whites and moths
and is tempted to plant more butterfly plants

pulverschwein in the northwest corner of montana
on 35 acres
with a bike
has loads of flowers that butterflies love
she brought butterfly roadkill home
for her art journal

elspeth lives in a barn
in tiny kingston bagpuize near oxford
and has seen peacocks red admirals cabbage whites
and a little blue one
also an elephant hawk moth

sara in western massachusetts
saw a delicious buttercolored butterfly
like a cat and a bird she says
eastern tiger swallowtail

which is also a dance

annko in rockland county new york
saw a black butterfly with orange and bright spots
and a clearwing hummingbird moth
which sounded like a hummingbird
and looked like one too

webb in central virginia
has been seeing black swallowtails cabbages whites
skippers and many monarchs on the buddleia

thelocalscoop loves purple giant hyssop
her blazing star is a butterfly magnet
her monarchs fight for a spot on a wand

leedav is heading out to the garden for a look

cait lives in brooklyn
she has seen an abundance of monarchs
at her parents house in new jersey

darbi  in tucson
has seen mostly monarchs she believes
loving their shadows first

mona saw two brimstone butterflies
dancing near cologne germany
and many more at the tate by damien hirst

karen sees cabbage whites on rare occasions
in her small garden somewhere
which has suffered from heat
she has seen great spangled fritillaries
on the orange milkweed
on the blue ridge parkway

dinahmow in australia has not seen many so far
she is waiting for blue triangles and maybe monarchs

karin in carmel valley planted ornamentals this spring
they have attracted butterflies
delicate white
and those with markings like live oaks with orange spots

michelle in kansas city
has seen monarchs and a zebra striped one
but butterflies are few and far between

lorlee in texas has won competitions
with her butterfly photos but fears those days are at an end
with the spraying for west nile
the politicians tell her
the butterflies hide under the leaves during spraying
and will not be harmed

she thinks they are toast

rosanne in milwaukee
planted zinnias nasturtium morning glories phlox
and a herb garden
she gets many painted ladies and some that are not identified
cabbage whites come too
and can destroy overnight

laurel marshfield in philadelphia
has seen monarchs cabbage whites and one tiger swallowtail

david saw a monarch the other day
in the berkshires near a stream that has dried
for want of rain
he lives in japan

pearl in atlanta
has seen many butterfly and moth visitors
but does not yet know their names

liz in east flatbush brooklyn
saw small white butterflies
a dark black with blue spots and a dark brown
what are they called?

carol in west virginia
has seen swallowtails black and tiger
and fritillaries
one monarch
but she is watching for more

clark has a view of a lush and remote waterway
a sylvan river
on the virginia side of the bay
where butterflies flit

katie in ann arbor
has seen very few butterflies
compared to years past
a very small black butterfly with yellow patterning
and some monarchs
a bittersweet sight

kate hutson in greenpoint brooklyn
has an instagram of a red admiral
which she thinks may be a monarch
there were two or three
chasing each other on Guernsey Street

nancy in pinesa county florida
has seen a monarch a gulf fritillary cloudless sulphur black swallowtail
and a grey hairstreak
and yesterday a white peacock the first
it all started with black swallowtails
on her parsley plant

the porch light in north carolina
has seen skippers hairstreaks swallowtails and cabbage loppers

anonymous in kentucky
has recently spotted viceroys swallowtails and cabbage moths

jelli's garden in rural leicestershire
has been graced with peacocks red admirals
cabbage whites tortoiseshells holly blues
though not many
a brimstone a skipper a couple of meadow browns
and a very dark unidentified winged visitor
cabbage white caterpillars stripped her bank of nasturtiums

helsbels' porch and back garden in chicago
have been visited by a plague of cabbage whites
red admirals common buckeye and two painted ladies
she is hoping for a monarch sighting
before fall

meg in portland oregon
the city of roses in fact
saw scads of yellow swallowtails
swirling in raucous trios with such force
that she could often HEAR them
she imagined tsunamis mounting boulders rolling heads chopped off
in some distant locale
obvious fallout of such violent flaps
cabbage whites are so lackadaisical that their flits
can't cause more than a stubbed toe

lyn in new brunswick canada
has a screen house into which a mourning cloak flew
before flying out again

ccg in philadelphia has seen cabbage whites
hornworm moths and some monarchs
and what looks like tortoiseshell butterflies
in south kensington

leeann in the garden state
has seen spectacular monarchs and swallowtails
and all those frisky dancing white butterflies
and hummingbirds moths too

tiffchick from brooklyn baby
sees butterflies all the time
at the park on her way to work out for a run

jenny in northwest arkansas
five miles east of oklahoma and twenty south of missouri
saw lots of butterflies this summer
despite the drought
she keeps watering spots well filled
she has had the small purple all the way up
to the large orange and the large black and yellow one

anamanzana in fort worth texas
has seen some little white ones with an orange spot
and some small orange and brown ones too
the monarchs haven't come down yet
in new jersey she scared a butterfly
out of her sister's garden

anonymous ariane
is at a cottage in mackinaw city michigan
she saw an aphrodite fritillary in a field
where she was picking flowers
a red spotted purple along a roadside
and just this morning
a mourning cloak in her own backyard

mason westmoreland in northeast georgia
fifteen miles north of athens
has seen a good many butterflies this year
lack of identification skills allows him
to list only the monarch

kelvin in brooklyn has seen mainly painted ladies
in fort tilden and green-wood

jimmy in dc has been visiting minnesota
where monarchs abound
his uncle is an entomologist and is pumped
to try the 19-year cicadas
which are considered quite the delicacy

farmer phil on a farm at mudgee west of sydney
says that it is still too cold for butterflies
his airspace is filled with wagtails
when not disturbed by magpies or the odd hawk


  1. this is such a nice group to be 'party to'

  2. I wish that I had Peacocks & Brimstones around here. Did Hen get an answer?

  3. What a wonderful collection -- reads like a found poem, to me!

  4. That was lovely Marie - its 'Us'! Feels like a big group of friends :)


  5. Thanks for a lovely post...pure poetry!


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