Friday, June 27, 2014

A New Poem At Last

Papillons en liberté

         –Montreal Botanical Gardens, May 2014

My wife of these thirty-odd short years
(why can’t there be thirty more?) and I
look down on a riffled pool
that forms from a man-made flume and shines
under man-made greenhouse light.  These butterflies

have hatched in all their many scores.
We watch them dip and rise among
bright, quick-bursting bubbles. 
Spring blooms surround us in pent profusion.
We smile to recall the words of her sister’s son,

now far from the small blond child who spoke them:
Do butterfries fry good? he asked me.
We repeat the cute question as one.
In the wild some of them “fry” 3000 miles.
I know that’s true, but almost think it can’t be:

They’re swept off-course by the paltry air
stirred by their visitors’ ahs and oohs.
Still I know it won’t do, the trite equation
of frail and lovely. They’re tough. It must
be fleetingness that floors me. That’s what shows.

I’ve learned some names today: blue morpho,
and you, rice paper, all but translucent,
and postman, you, whose very name
now sounds so quaint, so obsolescent.
Hello-goodbye. Nice to have met you.

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