— you will see the passing beauty of a butterfly —
Egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly this natural magic of transformation can happen to you too. Time makes you more beautiful. Human metamorphosis liberates souls. Such a rare achievement Requires an emptying of the mind, a deep (and so painful) compassion. to defeat your expectations; to free yourself and you will see the passing beauty of a butterfly.
Butterflies live for about a week Butterflies taste with their feet. Butterflies do not have mouths. Butterflies need the warmth of the sun to fly by. Butterflies can see red, yellow, and green.
A butterfly’s skeleton is on the outside of her body. The wings of a butterfly are transparent. Tiny scales give their wings colour. The souls of saints fly by metempsychosis Into the bodies of butterflies As they flutter hour after hour from flower to flower Tasting the nectar through their proboscis Remembering the caterpillar’s cocoon & speculating upon the depths and heights of eternity.
The tone of the big bell settles in the dust of this small market town in county meath and on the stained glass window still the sun-marked resonance of bell circles of uninscribed sound uncaged through all the cerebral centuries chimes and chants for christ the king chimes of crucifix, pyx and plate these bells have blessed the insouciant faithful buttressed, battered, no-man mattered through all the occupied centuries turning dust to dust again & straining to the music of bells.
If you can see the good in everyone If you do not condemn the less fortunate If you can speak the plain unvarnished truth When all about you are prattling prevarications If you are patient with those who lack luck If, when faced with stupid bias you do not duck or dive Or respond to haters with hatred Or respond to the wicked with evil. If you can modestly accept success and failure – Twin deceivers at the feast of life – If you can face up to disaster with smiles and laughter If you can bear to look into the mirror & truly see what others see If you can accept that your words can be twisted If your heart is big enough to glory in the success of others If you can accept life-threatening illness without self-pity If instead of “Why me?” you can sit for hours nursing parent or child If you can smile and laugh when all about you is loss upon loss If you can spot hypocrisy by a country mile & damn the pompous with a winning smile If you can skip the nets of race, nationality, religion, class Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And — which is more — you’ll be a woman my son!
a psychic distillation in the centre of this stinking nation the poor’s unfocused struggle for existence this patient is bound up in a charlie darwin struggle in A&E: at 2am, 200 bpm no sweat, he thinks, the drugs’ll bring it down eventually & as the mist lifts my heart skips a beat i see: the frozen children the ‘failing’ families the unwanted poor in the grip of stinking bare-faced complacency
I, too, was potentially everything at birth. I, too, was stunted, narrowed, warped by my environment, my outcroppings of heredity. Sylvia Plath
The past is present in all our genes and when you begin to recognize ancestors running through your blood you begin the blessed process of forgetting the here and now, as a free-standing reality, and so begin the unknowing of yourself. Discarding the slippery glimmer of today, putting on the face to meet the faces that we meet. We now can apprehend consciousness moving away from us nto the dark recesses of the blood, jumping along, generation after generation, always arriving back in the present bruised from the fight yet shining a light into the dangerous past of Vikings, Jacobites men whose hands were never clean, those who shared their homes with animals, young men who Recruiting Sergeants marched off to war by means of the old king’s shilling. We carry the genes of victims of Droit du seigneur (ius primae noctis) which allowed the Lord to take the virginity of all new wives. We can taste the ways in which the past seeps into the present and notice how our genetic inheritance is left to do its work, again, in this particular time and place.
I walk my dog, Woody, on a freezing day He pulls on the lead, he needs to be free, Soon, he’s outrunning Ned the whippet, I glance along the forest edge Up at the skeletal trees Even the pines decline to leaf for me. I count my losses – deaths natural And suicidal. How can I reconcile Myself to such losses. I do not know. My beautiful children extend their hands To me but they are busy with kids & work. I try not to let my terrible hurt show Except in verse for, I know well, enough very one can master a grief, but he that has it.
What a catastrophe; we are made for ease, & nice times when change stays away & unjust fate just passes us by encouraging me not to succeed denying me the hindrances of trivial habits, like breathing, and small-mindedness, and indifference on a cold winter’s day i sit here typing with cold fingers what a bad day to give in, to let go and just give in, to small indifferences, fate, what a horrible day she is having working in a cold warehouse she feels like letting go and giving in, but there are children to support and rent to pay. I think of Kavafy in Alexandria, at least he was warm..
What a disaster, getting dressed in the cold this morning dream of beautiful women flocking, like wild geese, to travel endlessly unfixed by hormones, genetics or fear this unfair luck of ours always catches me unawares i place my granddaughter in my heart, tenderly, she is warm there i accept the recent deaths without despair so many things I do not want or need for your sole sake i buy ornaments in praise of the sophists, their difficult and priceless blessings, what life will we have without them?
The trees are still today Denuded of leaves Seemingly apprehensive. Squirrels gather nuts — Against the coming storm. The big freeze will fill The hospitals. People seek warmth Seal windows Door frames Kick against disease Poverty: defences disintegrate Cold seeps in. Dogs bark forlornly Left to fend for themselves. We begin not to recognize Any common humanity Just competitors Who eat, steal heat, Try not to collapse or sob or grow old. Can you save me from the coming war? Will the lord command Peace and food and heat? Answer was there none.