Suzanne Cottrell

Suzanne Cottrell is the author of three poetry chapbooks: Gifts of the Seasons, Autumn and WinterGifts of the Seasons, Spring and Summer; and Scarred Resilience; and a hybrid book, Nature Calls Outside My Window, A Collection of Poems and Stories (Kelsay Books). Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She lives with her husband in central, rural North Carolina. She is an outdoor enthusiast and retired teacher, who enjoys reading, hiking, knitting, Pilates, and yoga. Read more about her writing journey at

Garden Guardians

Previously published in Harvest Anthology by Quillkeepers Press

Colonies of ladybugs seek shelter
from wintry weather, decorate our ceilings,
huddle in corners for warmth.

Confused by a warm November day,
a multitude of ladybugs appear,
paint our house red and black.

Beetles of our Lady, the Virgin Mary,
don a red cloak, black spots
symbolize her joys and sorrows.

Aphids and mites plagued fields,
ravaged annual crops of wheat and barley.
Livestock hungered and famine ensued.

The Virgin Mary answered prayers
of Medieval farmers by sending tiny beetles,
purposed with devouring pests.

Ladybugs endure fall and winter.
We welcome them each spring
as guardians of our garden.