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Death by Chrysalis
Danny Earl Simmons


Not everything that dies becomes a moldering rot
like the sticky black ooze of the weeds of ancient seas.

Take that wooly mammoth, for instance, found in a block
of ice on the edge of the middle of some frozen nowhere,
flowers half-chewed in its mouth. What luck to be unlucky
in such a way – in a cold flash just after a little dinner-salad – 
so that, all these centuries later, heads wag in disbelief
and grunt smirks at the shaggy once was of him.

And what of the death by chrysalis of the caterpillar –
a voracious, needy, earthy thing that dies from cramp
and forced revision only to be resurrected with two thin
surprises connected lightly to the same center of it all?

This poem first appeared in Pirene’s Fountain (Fall/Winter 2011).
Used here with the author’s permission.


Danny Earl Simmons has lived in the Mid-Willamette Valley of Oregon for more than 30 years. A graduate of Corvallis High School and a friend of the Linn-Benton Community College Poetry Club, he is an active member of the Albany Civic Theater. Read more of Danny’s work at



Post New Comment:
Wonderful title, beautiful poem...loved all of it!
Posted 12/10/2013 01:21 PM
Fresh and wonderful, and yes, worthy of shaking teens!
Posted 12/10/2013 11:42 AM
Loved this poem.
Posted 12/10/2013 10:26 AM
I love the 'frozen nowhere' and the 'centre of it all'. What a placeless poem.
Posted 12/10/2013 10:02 AM
Posted 12/10/2013 08:54 AM
Wonderful poem!
Posted 12/10/2013 08:47 AM
Once again, you delight us--dancing upon 26 letters. Thank U.
Posted 12/10/2013 08:24 AM
What a good poem!
Posted 12/10/2013 08:23 AM
I'm still laughing about grabbing those teenagers.... But this really is worthy of such a thing. "Two thin surprises..." -- how lovely to wake to such a thing.
Posted 12/10/2013 06:58 AM
This poem puts me in a state of awe.
Posted 12/10/2013 06:32 AM
Love reading your work.
Posted 12/10/2013 05:33 AM

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