December 30, 2020


May 29, 2023

Do not expect cocooning To be easy. It is not a time of rest But of rebirth. They used to think That the Caterpillar

Merely slept there,
Awaiting the wonder of wings.
This is not true.
To cocoon means
The breaking down of self,
Of letting go of all
that may be considered
Yielding to the chrysalis call.
Dropping all that is old identity,
All that is desire,
All that is hungry,
All that is eating, eating, eating,
When the moment comes, called
To go to the cool dark underleaf, underlog place,
To spin the silk of silent self,
The Caterpillar dissolves,
Touches the point of nothingness
Of being;
Become now
Neither Caterpillar
Nor Butterfly
Become simply, potential,
Until new form is found,
Until the selfmade tomb is too tight
And Butterfly is birthed,
bursting blessing, beauty.
A journey through stillness
into freedom,
Into flight,
No one who knew the Caterpillar
Would know it in the Butterfly,
No one who knows the Butterfly

Would see in it
Even the memory
Of Caterpillar,
Yet within there is
A continuity of being
A new recipe out of old ingredients
A life remade, a seed flowered, a potency fulfilled,
There is pain in this
I am sure.
How could there not be?
There is always pain
In surrender,
In transformation,
In new life, new birth
Death before resurrection,
Letting go, before letting be
This is the divine order of things
This is why there hides
Even here, even now,
In all your old Caterpillar desiring,
In the hunger at the core of your being,
The promise of Butterfly
If you would but surrender
To the call
Of the cocoon.
If you would know,
even for a day,
The wonder of wings
The freedom of flight.

Brother Richard Hendrick is a Dublin-based Franciscan friar whose poetry has touched tens of thousands of people in the pandemic.

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