Poet laureate pens poem for Veterans Day

North's Carolina new poet laureate has written a poem to honor Veterans Day.

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North's Carolina new poet laureate has written a poem to honor Veterans Day.

Joseph Bathanti's poem "Saint Francis's Satyr Butterfly" celebrates veterans and their families. The poem is about a rare endangered butterfly found only in the United States at Fort Bragg.

"North Carolina, arguably the heart of the U.S. military establishment, is overflowing with unforgettable stories of veterans and their families," Bathani said.

Bathanti, who has conducted writing workshops inside prisons for more than three decades, said plans to create a model for writing workshops for veterans across the state.

Bathanti was named as the state's seventh poet laureate by Gov. Bev Perdue in September. He is a professor of creative writing at Appalachian State University.

Here’s the poem:

Saint Francis’s Satyr Butterfly

All creatures have the same source as we have. — Saint Francis of Assisi

A reclusive small brown butterfly,

white and yellow stigmatic suns

deployed along its wing ridges,

Saint Francis’s Satyr – christened

after the 12th century Italian soldier

and POW turned mystic –

secretes itself, miraculously,

in 10 by 10 kilometers

of the 251 square mile brash

of Fort Bragg – exact coordinates classified –

beyond which – we know this much –

it has gone undetected. Shy, endangered,

preferring anonymity, it hides

in high artillery impact domains –

life often chooses death –

the fires triggered by bombardment.

It wears Marsh camouflage,

resembles in its favored habitat –

blasted sedge and beaver ruins –

a tiny standard issue

Advanced Combat Helmet.

Parsed from the chrysalis,

rent too soon from its dream of living,

the satyr blazes in desperate glory

but three or four days,

in its imaginal stage,

then tenders its life in writ sacrifice.

Its gorgeous numbers dwindle.

The caterpillar has never been seen.

We accept, on faith, metamorphosis.


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