Friday, October 5, 2018

Monarchs and Math: A Kyrielle

Mark Releases a Monarch at School
Photo by Liz L.

Students - Sometimes you might read something...and you love it!  When this happens, as a writer, you might say to yourself, "I want to try that."  I had such a moment last Poetry Friday.

Last week, when I read Robyn Hood Black's enchanting Mural Compass from J. Patrick Lewis's new THE POETRY OF US, I found the poem delightful and the form interesting too.  I learned that form is called a kyrielle.  On her blog, Life on the Deckle Edge, Robyn explained it this way:

"This poem is a kyrielle - a centuries-old French form with eight syllables per line and a repeating end line in couplets or quatrains, with a minimum of three stanzas. (Its origins are liturgical; the name comes from Old French kyriele, literally kyrie eleison, from Late Latin, according to Miriam Webster."

It is a lovely thing, indeed, to fall head over heels in love with words and forms and others' writing.  We love it for itself and too, for what we learn by reading.  Thank you, dear Robyn, for your openhearted poem and for introducing me to this new form too.

This week, let yourself adore the WAY something is written.  Say, "I am going to try that."  And

Or, to go in a completely different direction, allow yourself to find a writing idea in mathematics.  As we raised and released monarchs this summer, I found myself amazed again and again at the truth of only one in ten (possibly fewer) monarchs making it from egg to butterfly.  You can follow this equation from stanza to stanza in this kyrielle.

For those of you who know how I love and collect words, of course I just added kyrielle to my word list.  Magnificent!

Tabatha is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup at The Opposite of Indifference with a Goethe poem about friendship....and an opportunity to take part in a one time winter poem swap!  Each week we gather together, sharing poems, books, and poetry ideas all at one blog.  All are always welcome to visit, comment, and post.

Please share a comment below if you wish.


  1. I found the kirielle tricky rhythm to get into, when I first played with it, but it was rewarding, too. I love the rhythm and picture of your first two lines in the second stanza - especially those stripes munching to and fro.

  2. Beautiful creatures trying new forms; beautiful poets trying new forms... Thank you for sharing, Amy! "One may become a butterfly" will now be dancing in my head. XO

  3. "One may become a butterfly" takes the story to new heights, Amy, a sadness & a celebration all together. I'm reminded of the plight of sea turtles, racing to the sea & safety. Your kirielle is just right.

  4. I love trying new forms, too. This is lovely!

  5. I really enjoyed reading your poem. A friend got me into raising monarchs about 6 months ago. While I've seen maybe 15 caterpillars, only one (that I know of) became a butterfly. It is a hopeful (and sometimes discouraging) hobby. My kids enjoy seeing the process.

    1. Rebecca, Have you brought them inside as caterpillars? That did the trick here. Put them in an aquarium with fresh (non-sprayed) milkweed regularly and no predators...and yay! xx

  6. Love that your poem ends with hope, even though those 10 eggs lead to one-winged monarch.

  7. Beautiful Monarch butterfly tribute in words and sounds–hope lies in your refrain and is rewarded, "as I behold this butterfly." Thanks Amy!

  8. Math and Monarchs and a kyrielle! You amaze me over and over again. I really want to try this form.

  9. Thanks for showing me a new format and I love following your butterfly journey here and on Instagram.

  10. I really like the descending feel of the subtraction in this poem. I also copied down the definition of Kyirelle from last week. But, I also took your invitation to write as a place...which turned into a poem I shared this week for PF. I do enjoy the feeling of learning from PF friends. It is fun and great poems such as "One" come out of it.

  11. Oooh, a new-to-me poetry format, and lovely new words to add to my repertoire!

  12. What a lovely poem! And it gives me hope for my pollinator garden. I've found monarch caterpillars, but none of them yet have made it to chrysalis stage that I've seen. Maybe next summer I'll find 10 caterpillars so one might make it.

  13. I had no idea that becoming a butterfly was such risky business for a monarch egg! Informative and hopeful. <3 xo


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