The following poem is about the lifecycle of the silkworm. The silkworm is a caterpillar that produces raw silk in a thread-like form.

Background: Silkworm eggs hibernate in winter and are cross-fertilized by springtime. They take 14 days to hatch into larvae which eat continuously. Their favorite food is white mulberry leaves. Next, they molt four times. That means they shed their exoskeleton to form a larger one. Afterwards, they enclose themselves in a cocoon. The cocoon is made out of silk thread that ends up measuring between 2,000 - 3,000 feet long! Next, they make a hole in the cocoon to emerge as an adult moth. Eventually the adult female moth will lay eggs and start the cycle over again.

The Silkworm - English Children's Songs - England - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image


*Papilio is Latin for "butterfly". Pomp means "splendor". So the phrase can be interpreted as "butterfly-splendor".
**Oviparous means producing offspring by laying eggs.

Written by William Cowper.

Interesting Fact: 2,000 – 3,000 cocoons are needed to make just 1 pound of silk.

Proverb: Time and patience change the mulberry leaf to satin.



Recorded by Jason Pomerantz.

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Image: 1679 study of the silkworm metamorphosis by Maria Sibylla Merian, depicting the fruit and leaf of a mulberry tree and the eggs and larvae of the silkworm moth.