It commences with a mass emergence
from the foothills of the Atlas Mountains.
Two months later they cross the sierras
en route to Gascogne and Pas de Calais,
where, like William the Bastard, they launch
their invasion on favourable winds
over La Manche towards Ditchling Beacon
and on, via chalk escarpments,
glinting their reddish-orange as they go,
streaming in many thousands to settle
on heathland rich in nettle and thistle,
viper’s-bugloss, burdock and other treats,
or railwayside allotments where they
alight on Granddad’s nascent runner beans.
Their caterpillars, or those which survive,
metamorphose in flash flood or heatwave
and congregate along the Pilgrims’ Way
for take-off homeward to the Berber lands.