Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Science Poems for January 2011: 11

Last April I posted a science sonnet a day in celebration of National Poetry Month (index with links here). This January I am posting a science poem a day, written in various traditional forms, in honor of Science Online 2011.

The "fifth annual international meeting on Science and the Web" occurs Jan. 13-16, 2011. Click on the logo below to access their daily digest (already active) on paper.li.

As with the sonnets, my January poems take their cues from science-based articles. I also have two works in a special science poem section (vol. 33 #5/6) of Star*Line, journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. You can read my "Ciliate Sestina" here.

Also, two sonnets from last April's collection, "In Development" and "Manipulations," have made it into Open Laboratory 2010 Click on the badge below for links to the 50 essays, 6 poems, and 1 cartoon in the collection.

Today's poem takes its cue from "Male and female butterflies 'take turns courting'" (Ella Davies, BBC Earth News, Jan. 6, 2011). Click on the article link to learn more about the research. To learn more about the traditional poetic structure used, click on the form name below the title.

Dressed for Success
(Form: Rhymed Quatrains)

Squinting brown bush butterfly
Mates in seasons wet and dry,
Beating wings to clarify,
"Let's make caterpillars. Hi!"

But as caterpillars grow,
Temperatures adjust them, so,
Later, when wing markings show,
They will choose how courtships go.

Warm and wet will give the male
Brilliant eye spots far from pale.
He will toward the ladies sail,
Wooing so as not to fail.

When the season's dry and cool,
Then the female's wings bejewel.
Ultraviolet wavelengths rule,
Driving forth a love-struck fool.

As Dr. Monteiro learns,
Males and females here take turns
Voicing amorous concerns,
Seeking one who mates or spurns.

Why would butterflies do that?
Need for nutrients begat
These dynamics, tit for tat
In their sandy forest flat.

Human beings cannot see
Ultraviolet finery.
But with help, we can agree:
Weather aids in love's decree.

Elissa Malcohn's Deviations and Other Journeys
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