Martin Choules: Royal Wedding

There, on every table,
As the best man gave his speech,
There was a box, about a hand’s-width each.
With a couple of bows,
And little holes in rows.

The day was cooling off
As the sun was slipping down the sky.
A blackbird sang duets
With the buzzing of a fly,
And the garden’s sweet perfume was in full bloom.

And then the moment came
At the bidding of the bride:
The bows were soon untied
As we gingerly undid the lid,
To find a single butterfly inside.

Large, by British standards,
Their leaded-lights stained orange-red,
And quick enough they rouse from bed.
Their wings all beating seagull-slow
As up away they go.

A cloud of Monarch butterflies -
A plague, almost, a scarlet host
To start the dance and lead the toast -
A starling-swarm, a bridal crown,
Confetti that went up instead of down.

They soon dispersed into the beds,
A doddle for a bug collector -
Crowding any flowers still in nectar.
A little sugar on the hand,
And maybe we could bring one in to land.

But if, like any wedding guest,
They hoped to meet their future mate,
Or else at least to score a date,
Well, better come on strong:
They’d all be dead before too long.

And as for starting families,
They’d find no milkweed here.
Their kids will starve to death, I fear.
Some metaphor for wedded life:
A pushy groom and barren wife!

Monarch butterfly on plant.