Welcome to this month’s poetry classroom, with poet and professor Julie L. Moore. We invite you to respond to the poems we’ll share here—their forms, images, sounds, meanings, surprises—ask questions of Julie and each other, and write your own poems along the way.
The Painted Lady and the Thistle
The painted lady alights on thistle,
its winged mosaic aflutter with brilliance
and thirst. Here is Adam again,
his brow stitched in toil,
his back breaking out in sweat.
What will the blossom, edged
with thorny predicaments, offer
as this butterfly plunges
its proboscis into the core
ablaze with being?
Of course you already know.
Every sip, a miracle, a curse
that never disappoints the one
whose instinct is to drink
first, ask questions later.
1. Poetry sometimes relies on the art of comparison. Would you have chosen to compare a Painted Lady to Adam? What parts of the comparison work best for you?
2. The poet has chosen to indent every other line. Would the poem feel any different or lose any meaning if all the lines remained flush left?
3. Can you relate to the instinct to drink first, ask questions later? What is the risk of being that kind of person, or of not being that kind of person? How do you think the poet feels about such a person (the kind who drinks first)?