(written following the death of a young woman in a tragic boat accident last month, July, 2013,

on the Hudson River in Rockland County, New York)


Washed in rain too fierce and

blown by wind too brisk, she

flutters hesitant to sample once again a

bit of nectar from the blossoms on my deck;

two days ago, so bright, so vibrant in her daintiness,  

but now her golden luster paled, her brilliant colors

dimmed, her wings in tattered disarray. 

I grieve for this lone swallowtail, and know as she

takes cautious flight, she never will return.


Another, too, has disappeared;

a bride to be in merely days, she carefree

skimmed the Hudson with her friends;

her brilliant wings a-glow in shadows of the night,

she chatted, laughed, and teased her groom, her

worries blown away on river breeze—until,

colliding with construction barge, her happy boat

lurched sudden to a stop and tossed her to the

hungry waves, compelling her to walk the

aisle of death instead of wedding joy. 

I did not know this lively sprite, but

grieve with those whose lives were

swallowed by her sudden vanishing.


So fragile all the beauty of our days;

it lifts, but wounds as well,

insists we hold life’s joys in fingers

open, curved to touch, but never grasp;

asks us to give those fingers eyes to

peer through gauze of winds and rains,

peer through the ragged jolts that sudden

slash across our days, peer through and through

to glimpse the larger hands that hold our spindly lives,

our all-too-early deaths; those larger hands with costly

scars that wait to sculpt anew the beauty broken,

strewn across our chipped and crumpled dreams.

6 thoughts on “Fragility

  1. This is so beautiful. I printed it up and taped it into my journal. FYI: In the third line from the end of the second stanza, I read “sprite” as “spirit”. Interesting, no?

  2. A tragic death. An accident that we in the Lowcountry/Coastal Empire learned about on the local and national news. Your words capture this tragic death and its meaning to all of us and especially to those of us who are associated with Rockland County and GSLC – WELCA.

  3. Carol, your words open a vulnerable, fragile spot in my heart. Tis a good thing to be in touch with our own beauty and mortality. Tis even better to know that there are larger hands with costly scars that hold our spindly lives. With your permission, I’d like to share your blog posting on the church facebook page.

  4. You are welcome to share this. This terrible accident, as well as the demise of the beautiful butterfly with whom I felt a strange and deep connection, led to some deep new awarenesses for me and some profound gratitude for those scarred hands that hold us.

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