Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


The Caterpillar

Under this loop of honeysuckle,
A creeping, coloured caterpillar,
I gnaw the fresh green hawthorn spray,
I nibble it leaf by leaf away.

Down beneath grow dandelions,
Daisies, old-man's-looking-glasses;
Rooks flap croaking across the lane.
I eat and swallow and eat again.

Here come raindrops helter-skelter;
I munch and nibble unregarding:
Hawthorn leaves are juicy and firm.
I'll mind my business: I'm a good worm.

When I'm old, tired, melancholy,
I'll build a leaf-green mausoleum
Close by, here on this lovely spray,
And die and dream the ages away.

Some say worms win resurrection,
With white wings beating flitter-flutter,
But wings or a sound sleep, why should I care?
Either way I'll miss my share.

Under this loop of honeysuckle,
A hungry, hairy caterpillar,
I crawl on my high and swinging seat,
And eat, eat, eat—as one ought to eat.

Credit


Published in 1918. This poem is in the public domain.

Author


Robert Graves

The author of numerous collections of poetry, novels, and translation, Robert Graves fought in World War I and was viewed as an accomplished war poet. Also the author of the historical novel I, Claudius, Graves died in Majorca in 1985.

Date Published: 1918-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/caterpillar