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Robert Graves (1895–1985). Fairies and Fusiliers. 1918.

13. 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.