Poems are where word-caterpillars emerge from their cocoons.
The Caterpillar by Ogden Nash
I find among the poems of Schiller
No mention of the caterpillar
Nor can I find one anywhere
In Petrarch or in Baudelaire
So here I sit in extra session
To give my personal impression.
The caterpillar, as it's called,
Is often hairy, seldom bald;
It looks as if it never shaves;
When it walks, it walks in waves.
And from the cradle to the chrysalis
It's utterly speechless, songless, whistless.
And where else but Lear? It's a butterfly-ish play**, the madness and the stomping around and all...and for the fastidious, his poetry is a blanker shade of verse than Mr. Nash's.
This speech comes after King Lear and Cordelia have been captured and Lear is delighting in the company of the one who turned out to be his really good daughter:
Lear: No, no, no, no! Come, let's away to prison:
We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage:
When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down,
And ask of thee forgiveness: so we'll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too,
Who loses and who wins; who's in, who's out;
And take upon's the mystery of things,
As if we were God's spies: and we'll wear out,
In a wall'd prison, packs and sects of great ones,
That ebb and flow by the moon.
*That from "An April Day" by William Wadsworth Longfellow. WWL was a BIG fan of April.
*Okay, maybe Lear is not SO much butterfly-ish, but Peter S. Beagle's fictional butterfly quotes Lear to great effect in another work; hence they are joined in my mind.