Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Silkworm Cocoon & Pupa Poems: Variations on a Theme

When I traveled to the People’s Republic of China with an educational delegation in the autumn of 1994, one of the places we visited was a silk factory. It was fascinating to see the boiled cocoons and the spools of raw silk. I wish I had pictures to post—but all I have are slides of my trip there.

Here are some of my poems about silkworm cocoons and pupae. These poems are variations on a theme. In my elementary classroom, I often shared a variety poems on a particular subject—butterflies, caterpillars, trees, the sun, the moon, winter, spring, etc.—to show my students how different poets might write about them from their perspectives...and in their own unique styles.

The following poems in order are: a mask poem, an acrostic, a cinquain, and a haiku.


This silken nest
Is where I’ll rest
And sleep and change
And rearrange
Myself into another me.

In this small space,
This creamy case,
Six legs I’ll grow,
Four wings—and oh…
Can’t wait to see the ME I’ll be.

Case spun

Of creamy silken threads,

Cozy cottage for

One, changing room

Of a sleeping pupa who will awaken to a

New self.


creamy silken

sack—sleeping bag for one

young dreamer whose wish for wings will

come true

Swaddled in white silk

spinning dreams of a future

that will end too soon


Silkworm Moth (Pictures)

Silkworms Moths

Silk Factory--Suzhou


Linda said...

Elaine, you are amazing! This is a great way to show kids how one topic can be written about in many different forms. I'm going to keep this idea in mind to use with my students.

Elaine Magliaro said...


It's interesting to look at the different poems when I write about a topic in varied poetic forms.

Tricia said...

I loved our visit to the silk factory. We had the chance to try and pull silk and it was incredibly difficult. I left, of course, with silk scarves for just about everyone I work with. (And not one for me!)

Love your poems. I'm going to try writing about a single topic in different forms. It may be the spark I need.

Elaine Magliaro said...


I loved the tour of the silk factory. I wish I had brought back some silk scarves and brocades from China.

We also had a tour of a cloisonne factory. Wish I had bought more vases and some jewelry there.

laurasalas said...

Elaine, these are all wonderful! The cinquain is my favorite, though. You used that last line SO well. Wonderful!