Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Great Plains Drifter
(Monarch butterfly tanka sequence)

by Tim Gardiner

each spring
in forest pines
the odyssey begins ~
an orange army
decorates grey plains

delicate ladies
lay alien eggs
on milkweed leaves ~
a new generation
drawn to magnetic north

this season’s
prospecting pioneers
mine for nectar ~
sweeping along highways
at tornado pace

on Route 83
a butterfly is pinned
to the radiator grill ~
another victim
of the summer vacation

turbine blades
cut through silence
on high plains ~
a passing swarm
caught in their draft

the plough
has done its worst
cultivating extinction ~
ghost towns
deserted by butterflies

in all directions
dancing prairie-grass
is stripped of colour ~
drifting spirits
ride south to sanctuary

a life and death race
to escape fall’s
cold touch ~
two thousand miles
lead to the same tree

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