the last monarch: poem & soundtrack by d. ellis phelps

I’m not a movie maker nor do I play the piano.  I am a maker, though and I’ve been playing today…my grandmother’s piano:  a Kimball upright, maybe a hundred years old.

But first, the monarch stopped me and I had to write:

 washing my breakfast cup

i sponge lipstick      lip prints

from its clear rim      warm

water and soap      soothing my skin

i gaze

out the kitchen window      admiring

the plants i’ve potted on the porch






consider seasons:

how soon these blooms will fade

but before nostalgia overtakes

–monarch perches

upon the petal of the sage

–orange and black      stained glass


she folds


folds again

bow and dip

bow and dip

i cannot help myself

i stop      to watch


this straggler      marching south

well behind the snout-nosed

butterflies that flew through my garden

only days ago:  twenty-two to be exact

the last time      in fact

that i picked up this pen

and sat here      on this porch:

called to worship

by wings

& later in this beautiful October day, the blue sky so clear, so uninterrupted…i sat again, but this time at the  piano, the Monarch’s beauty, her formidable endurance, her leaving…an indie film playing in my mind.  Here are the sounds that came:

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