Friday, May 12, 2017

"Butterfly" by Patrick Theron Erickson

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Butterfly” by Patrick Theron Erickson.  Erickson’s work has appeared in: Grey Sparrow Journal, Cobalt Review, and Burningword Literary Journal, and most recently in: Right Hand Pointing, Tipton Poetry Journal, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Danse Macabre.  He is a retired parish pastor and a resident of Garland, Texas just south of Duck Creek.

Butterfly
Patrick Theron Erickson

What is this thing
with painted wings
and scalloped edges

that lights on a succulent
with tufted two-fisted blossoms

and folds up its wings
like aircraft stowed
on an aircraft carrier
in heavy seas

and pivots and swivels
on its perch
high in the crows nest
on high winds
like a steeple cock

and unlike
a steeple cock
flies off the handle
at random

impervious
to small craft warnings

impervious
but not immune?

Poet’s Notes:  I was observing a monarch butterfly negotiating a succulent in my backyard one breezy fall day and was struck by the following: its fragility and awkwardness, small body and oversized wings challenged by the wind, and its determination to stay the course and ride out the gusts.  Isn’t it amazing that so awkward and fragile a creature can negotiate a 5,000-mile round-trip migration each year and, more mysterious still, that its offspring will hibernate in the same trees in which their parents overwinter without ever having been there?

Editor’s Note:  Erickson uses rhyme, assonance, consonance, and alliteration judiciously and elegantly, adding just the right amount of polish and sparkle to his poem.    The entire poem is one long question, inviting the reader to contemplate the meaning of the piece.  I also enjoy the nautical and aviation metaphors here.

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