Tag Archive | butterflies

Black Beauty


So noiselessly he came,

this blue-black swallowtail, to sip

lantana on my deck, his stillness

echoing for me the tender silence

of eternity amidst the noise of inner

fears, against the din of ugly tweets,

of cries to build a wall, to slam our doors

against the tide of people orphaned

from their homes, their loved ones, tossed

into the chaos of a coarse and raucous world.


His soundless beauty whispers me

a blue-black grace that flutters silent

in the anxious corners of my mind;

his quiet presence reassures;

grace wings its way into our lives,

at times so unexpectedly.

We Don’t Much Care for Broken

empty photo frame

(sadly, no picture here)

She sips from the lantana on my deck,

wings russet orange and black; I tiptoe

close and see one wing is shredded,

torn. I tuck my camera away; who wants to

focus on the brokenness of life? We don’t

much care for broken.


We like things whole and picture perfect.

Even healers shrug at times to tattered

lives, “Oh, merely chronic this or

chronic that.” Unable to repair, to mend,

they tuck their interest away. We don’t

much care for broken.


But broken wings still fly, and broken

bodies, broken souls, press on and whisper

courage; shine light that glimmers in the

shadows of their lives.


Forgive me, butterfly; forgive my shuttered

mind, my turning from your brokenness;

I turn again to sing the strength tucked

in your tattered wing; in mine as well;

perhaps together we can sip lantana joy;

together shelter from the wind and rain;

together shun the label “broken”; dance

instead to melodies of wholeness hovering

always just beyond our grasp.

Sedum Feast


“Hurry !” I whisper, eager for their blooms to

soften rusted summer days; of course they

pay no heed, breathing as they do the endless

patience of the stars; like chefs devoted to a

fine cuisine, these sedum pinpoints, sedately

poised on my front porch, so careful measure,

gather all they need from rain and sun and

cool of night; serene they toil, unruffled, unafraid,

‘til in the fullness of their time, with modest blush of

joy, take off their aprons, don their robes of rose

and stoles of green and lay before the bees and

butterflies—and me!–a spread rare, delicate, and rich;

with priestly nod invite us each to come for all is ready; sample,

sip, and feast with grateful heart; mystic feed at leisured pace on

mead and nectar fit for monarch, free to all who hunger, thirst for

taste of hallowed mystery, for wisdom of a patient heart, for

grace to still the fears that flit around the edges of our

falling summer days.

002 (3)



(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.

Luminous Life II

thanks to Bonnie Kestner, a friend in Virginia, for this photo

thanks to Carol Myers-Lessa, a friend in South Carolina, for these two photos

and these two are from our front porch in New York

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Luminous Life

Does she have any idea of how radiant she is,

this lovely burst of color tiptoeing so

bold, yet mute, across my sedum?

Any idea of the awe she evokes as she

lifts her dainty antennae, all aquiver with

thankful glee for the lush pink fragrance she has found?

Any idea that I am snapping picture after

picture to capture something of her exquisite

presence on my front porch?  None at all.  So

blissfully un-self-conscious of her charm, she simply

sips the gift of nectar and opens up her

wings to let the sun fall warm across her brilliant

orange.  More sips, and then at last she

softly folds her wings and turns, as if to say,

“enough gawking already; go live your own luminous life!”

Her life will be so short, perhaps a month, but in that

fleeting time, she will profoundly shine, so

fully present to her moment and her task, so

silently attentive to what she needs to do.

And watching her, I wonder—can we learn her simple ways,

live each our own small radiance, and

be so-all-a-quiver-present to the marvels all around?