Mama Monarch

Mama Monarch

Up the hill
and across the field,
behind red maple leaves
the Green Man watches
His Goddess,
busy in the nursery,
feeding, changing, singing
to Her children.

He loves how the whole universe
meets and moves
in Her body,
how in every moment
She holds life and death
in both hands,
radiant and beautiful,
Her faithful heart.

No longer dressed
in the rags and ashes
of mourning,
She stands in Her new life
surrounded by nature,
keeping Her promise to Him
to make a good life
on Her own.

The Green Man
longs to embrace Her,
but knows He must wait
until She undergoes
Her own gift
of metamorphosis,
and comes willingly
to the clearing in the forest.

Full and alive
as a pregnant mother’s womb,
She is Mama Monarch,
nursing Her eggs,
chrysalises and caterpillars,
forever unfolding
their divine messages
and endless transformations.

Dark cocoons appear,
like rows of hanged men,
as a pause is taken
while dreams take shape
beneath twisted silk knots,
where each green
and gold-flecked jewel,
brews and simmers.

The Green Man watches
as She takes each child
in Her hands,
teaching them
the joys of nectar
and secrets of the universe,
long before these winged tigers
float and sip in the garden.

The answers to life,
She tells them,
will not be found at the top
of a lonely mountain
or sunk beneath an ocean,
nor at the back of a cave,
they will be hidden
on the inside, all along.

If things are to come together,
first they must come apart,
the Goddess tells
each budding caterpillar,
as She takes up Psyche’s
sorting tasks,
to gather and separate eggs, leaves
and star-shaped flowers.

As each summer night passes
She remembers to let
Her dreams find the answers,
allowing Her Cronedom
to become the peak
of Her femininity,
whilst She starts writing
a new parable for the soul.

Mothering,
not a child of flesh
but winged children of spirit,
Mama Monarch waits
for a favourable wind,
before each butterfly rises in love,
out of the darkness
and into the light.

Witnessing this miracle of life
the Green Man
steps back into the forest,
breathing in Her love,
His heart expands,
knowing if He could live again
He would choose the same life,
loving His Goddess.

 

© Deborah Gregory 2021

Image Credit: Elaine Mansfield

Dedicated to my Dear Friend and Wise Woman, Elaine Mansfield. May we all continue to rise in love and keep lifting each other up out of the darkness and into the light.

And because she loves Rilke, “The natural growth of your inner life will lead you slowly and with time to other insights … Everything is a gestation and then bringing forth.”

Full Moon, Solstice Blessings to all.  Love and light, Deborah.

28 thoughts on “Mama Monarch

    1. Thank you so much Luisa for your beautiful words! The beautiful photo is of Elaine’s, Mama Monarch’s hand with several of her newly hatched butterflies. Love and light, Deborah

  1. Oh, Deborah, you’ve done it again. This one is especially meaningful. You’ve artfully captured her close relationship to nature, to the miracles of life and love, death and rebirth, all in 12 brief stanzas, one for each month of the year. Mama Monarch she certainly is!! Mama. Monarch. Matriarch. Mansfield. Matrignosis. Mother-knowing. Meaning. MMMM….such a soothing sound! Celebrating Mother love with you, Jeanie

    1. Thank you so much Jeanie for your wonderful, warm-hearted review! I absolutely loved writing this one for Elaine aka “Mama Monarch” Herself. Having followed her butterfly adventures for many a year now I thought … okay, if the butterflies won’t come to Mama, her friend the poet will bring them to her in the only way she knows how … with her pen! Yes all those MMMM’s indeed … “Mother-Knowing” hmm, now there’s the title of a new poem, if ever I saw one! Love and light, Deborah.

  2. I have never been poetic in my life, but I will find the way there when I begin to read your poems. And now, I am looking up to my Goddess, just like this Green Man, and I will surely wait until she comes back willingly.
    A great poem, dearest Deborah, with an enormous fulfilment.
    And the picture of the beautiful Monarch always reminds me of Elaine. You both are like the harmony in nature and full of inspiration for me. Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much Aladin for your wonderful friendship and generous review of my latest poem “Mama Monarch”. I wrote this one especially for Elaine and Vic, her beloved Green Man … when earlier in the week Elaine said her Monarchs were not with her yet and she was worried … so I decided to surprise her with the gift of this poem.

      Yes, I am a romantic at heart. John Lennon said it best when he sang … “Some may say I’m a dreamer I’m not the only one!”

      The photograph at the top of this post belongs to Elaine. What’s not to love with all those Monarch butterflies “coming to Mama” on her very hand! As always I’m looking forward to reading your weekend posts. Hope you’re having a good day. Love and light, Deborah.

  3. This is such a beautiful tribute to Elaine’s work with the Monarchs Deborah and of course her lifelong love with her Green Man. As always you have woven your words together in such a way that they gently flow like a butterfly weaving its way through the forest to her home, bringing home the message of the metamorphosis and transformation that we experience as we go through the different stages of our lives to Cronedom and beyond.

    Elaine’s photograph of the Monarchs on her hand is a wonderful portrayal of her role as Mama Monarch and her dedication to their well-being.

    Thank you Deborah, you have gifted us all a truly beautiful love poem for life, nature, Elaine and her Green Man. Love and light, Sophia.

    1. Thank you so much Sophia for your beautiful reply! Yes, a fitting tribute I hope as Elaine’s work has inspired me for several years now, ever since I had the good fortune to cross her path online and discover her wonderful blog.

      Oh, I love the way you describe my words as fluttering and following the journey of the butterfly through the forest and onto the porch where those life-changing transformations take place. Always in the liminal place I’m thinking!

      Come to Mama! Elaine’s spectacular photo sang to me and so with her kind permission I was able to use it as the header image for this poem. Whose hand would I use but hers?! For me it gives the poem that unique touch.

      Are you a butterfly lover yourself? Love and light, Deborah.

      1. Yes I have been for years…although I certainly can’t name them all! I read a book a couple of years back – The Butterfly Isles by Patrick Barkham about his quest to see all 59 species of butterfly that inhabit or visit the UK in one year…that taught me a lot and piqued my interest even more. Before reading it I was just a butterfly lover but now when I go out for walks I’m forever on the look out for them and feel very privileged when a more unusual one crosses my path.

        1. Fridays are always such a busy day, so apologies for delayed reply! Thank you for the book recommendation I will zip over to Amazon a little later and have a look. Hmm, I only know of and can name about ten varieties of butterflies so it sounds like the book would be an education too.

  4. What a beautiful poem Deborah!! I’m sure Elaine loved it!

    At first glance Mama Monarch seems like a love poem and then as one dives deeper, it turns out to be so much more for each verse pulses with wisdom – the secrets of the universe are within you not outside and how highly you value cronedom – the peak of femininity. When the Animus steps in or his presence is felt, it’s all change on the porch as creativity and spirit meet. Only death will bring them together and how we must undergo transformation, our metamorphosis alone.

    I was thinking what a magical place the porch is, a liminal, in between realm. All the best, Anna.

    1. Thank you so much Anna for your kind-hearted and insightful review! In a few words you succinctly touch on many things so let me focus on a couple of things or I’ll be here all day. Let’s start with the porch … I agree, it’s a magical, in-between place, where a great deal happens! I just read this online, “In American literature, the porch is a stage where the symbolism is often as thick as the summer air — a transitional space between the cocoon of home and the cacophony of the outside world.” Hmm, a great place then for a butterfly nursery!

      Yes, Cronedom for me is the peak of femininity! And how lucky I am to have several incredibly wise older women, Crones, in my life who do not preach but show me how it’s done through their words and actions. Kindness is important alongside having a deep relationship with nature, above and below. Here in my late fifties I still feel like a toddler re becoming a Crone myself, so I’m looking forward to moving into my transformative sixties and beyond. My mother was seventy seven years old when she died last month.

      Love and light, Deborah.

      1. Thanks Deborah for looking at porches, especially American ones where the porch is not only an outdoor living room but a place where one can connect with neighbours. I think we’re heading that way in England too.

        I see crones as women of age, wisdom and power and you tick all three boxes for me!!! I hope your mum lived a full life. You mentioned in your last post that she was a voracious reader.

        1. To be honest I’ve never really thought about the symbolism of a porch before so thank you Anna for encouraging me to dig a little deeper in. I don’t have a porch round my property but highly value my garden and the beauty and sanctuary it provides us … most especially during lockdown these past eighteen months.

          Aww, thank you for your kind words! My mother read thousands of books I reckon and I’m sure we read many of the same classic novels too! She was twenty years older than me, which as I’ve aged, feels like no time at all even though I know it is.

  5. Mohammed and the Mountain no less – dear Deborah, I can’t tell you how valuable you are to me as are Jeanie and Elaine – thank you for saying similar. I got lucky this much I know. Three persons of great and nurturing value that is my honour to ‘know’. Love, Susan on this full moon night.

    1. Many years ago I heard someone call us the “Jungian Quartet” and I loved it! Until Jung came into my life (for the second time) at midlife I had no idea what was missing, in my professional life too. Now I know that it was my relationship to “Self” “Soul” “Psyche” that deep transformation, from the inside out … and I get it, I really get it and value it highly.

  6. Oh dear Deborah. I am thrilled! I feel the Green Man returning the forest to health after a gypsy moth caterpillar invasion and I am doing all I can to protect the Monarchs who also had a hard year. I told Deborah the Monarchs were scarce and she wrote an ode for them and me. Surely her poem will lure them to my milkweed fields. Nine of the pin head sized eggs I found over a month ago are chrysalises now, plus another is still a caterpillar. Since females lay 250-500 eggs, they can repopulate quickly–another magic trick if Nature pleases. Surely this poem will help. This was my summer to write about them, so may Deborah’s lyrical poem including the watchful Green Man, and my lament–“Where are you? Come home to Mama”–call the butterflies home. Butterfly = Psyche = Soul

    1. Well, if the Monarchs weren’t coming to Mama, her friend (the poet) was bringing them to her in the only way she knew how! I’m thrilled that you love my poem Elaine and that Vic; your beloved Green Man stepped into the poem to watch you on your porch as you tend to your butterfly nursery. It was a joy to write and dedicate “Mama Monarch” to you my dear friend!

      Oh, I love the thought that my poem could act as a word spell to help your forest defeat the gypsy moth infestation. When viewed through a Jungian lens, the Animus, that incredible, archetypal spirit of ours knows full well how to return us to health and call the spirit (Monarchs) home to creativity (milkweeds), to that fluid of eternal life, fertility and abundance.

      Personally and collectively, I feel that Psyche’s sorting tasks are upon the world in this time of pandemic, as we search outside for answers that are hidden on the inside all along. And this is why I admire you greatly because you do not refuse to take up the lonely, yet deeply transformative journey, of individuation that each Monarch and soul must undergo.

      I look forward to hearing how all those tiny eggs and caterpillars transform in the coming weeks and months, until then, sending you much love and light across the oceans and especially those oaks between us, Deborah.

    2. Of course, I saw one Monarch in the milkweed this morning, but it wasn’t interested in a photo session. In the afternoon, the first Monarch in the back porch nursery eclosed (somersaulted out of her split chrysalis) and after a few hours, she wanted out. I put her in a safe container and carried her to the milkweed patch where I’d seen the Monarch in the morning–and there were four more Monarchs fluttering and floating over the milkweed. One was obviously a male as he persistently pursued a female, but this means there will be eggs to find and raise. There may be more adult Monarchs tomorrow since your poem enchants them and lures them in so I can protect their eggs and caterpillars from predators.

      1. How wonderful, Psyche’s sorting tasks #2021 have begun as the first transformation of the year is complete! Pure magick! Thank you so much Elaine for sending me news direct from the field! I’m all ears and eyes on how you “Mother” your Monarchs, while “Mothering your Soul” (using your own title here my dear friend).

        Wow! The Monarchs are arriving just as the season turns and your nursery opens its welcome doors. I was reading about the mythology, symbolism of “porches” yesterday and wondered if you thought they were liminal places too? Here in the UK we don’t have such folklore … but America seems steeped in their porches.

        1. Porches as liminal spaces is a great insight. Porches are important in my home which is about 200 years old. We did massive amounts of remodeling and Vic even rebuilt the foundation. There’s an original north facing long front porch with a roof where I keep plants in the summer and firewood in the winter. There’s a western facing deck we added about 15 years ago (no roof) so we could eat outside in the summer and watch sunsets on the horizon. Then there’s an original east facing roofed porch off the kitchen and that’s where I have the Monarch nursery. I imagine the Green Man watching the Crone on the back porch as she tends and feeds the caterpillars. Contemplating porches connects the Monarch experience with unconscious realms–in between.

          1. Thank you so much Elaine for sharing the history and usage of each of your porches and how you’ve chosen the one that faces East for your Monarch butterfly nursery. Hmm, the symbolism of the four cardinal directions feels important here, as for me, the East invokes the Buddha, Dalia Lama, spiritual awakening and the direction of the rising sun, new beginnings too … just a few steps away from the “alchemical” kitchen where other transformations take place. Your brief history of your porches add another layer of richness to your divine Monarch stories and I love, love, love how you imagine the Green Man watching His Goddess in this liminal place. I’ve got porch-envy now!

    1. What a beautiful, poetic reply! Thank you so much Brian. Love and light, Deborah.

  7. What a beautiful dedication to Elaine, Deborah, written in your flowing poetic style, your pen mightier than the sword, encapsulating the solitary journey of the Monarch, watched in wonder by the Green Man, who learns and yearns and bows before the butterfly. I’m in awe. Love, Susan

    1. Thank you so much Susan for your beautiful and generous reply! I’m deeply inspired by Elaine and her magickal, mythical writing … as I am with yours and Jeanie’s too. For all your friendships and companionship on my poetic and Jungian journeying have been inestimable!

      When I first read Elaine’s post two days ago I thought to myself, well, if the Monarchs won’t come to Mama, her friend will bring them to her, in the only way a poet knows how! Love and light, Deborah.

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