Friday, October 15, 2010

autumn summer pumpkin butterfly

What's your favorite season? It's an important question; in my family we seem to review our preferences, with revisions, on a regular basis (just like we keep having to come back to the food question: "If you could have only one carbohydrate for the rest of your life, what would you choose? only one fruit? only one vegetable?").

I find it very easy indeed to pick summer, but this early fall time is a close second because of piquant overlaps like the one I tried to capture in the opening poem of last year's Pumpkin Butterfly (Boyds Mills/Wordsong). My school is full of painted lady and monarch butterflies because of the second-grade science curriculum, and the pumpkins are already on their way in, all under the mellow October sunshine. Don't forget to watch for ghosts.


we haul our wagon to a patch of hilly earth
weighed down with deep orange
with bigbellied, cumbersome pumpkins

“This is the one”
“And this one”
we say

we cut the tough vines and turn to load them up

behind our backs
a gust of butterflies rises and tumbles
on hot October air

yellowgreen tinged with orange
wings as weightless and angular
as the pumpkins are heavy and round:

the ghosts of our pumpkins untethered from earth

~ Heidi Mordhorst 2009


  1. What a wonderful poem -- thanks for sharing!

  2. Heidi,

    My favorite season is autumn. I love it here in New England at this time of year. I don't tolerate the humid days of summer well.

  3. I've been reading up on Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday that honors loved ones who have passed away. One of the traditional ideas is that the spirits of loved ones return to visit us in the form of Monarch butterflies. Fascinating connection, isn't it?

  4. Heidi-This is so lovely! The trees are starting to reach their peak and pumpkins patches are in full bloom here in Maryland, and I'm loving it! "bigbellied pumpkins" what a great image!

    Thanks for sharing this poem, now I want to read more of the collection!


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!