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Wednesday, 18 November 2009




In the poisoned garden
her shattered wings,
long, pointed and discal,
flicker like a delphinium
in a clump of thistles --
the light minimal, the dark scaling
turning a deeper blue ochre
with the dying of the evening
and then a silvery white.

File:Delphinium grandiflorum 472.jpg

Ground fog in East Frisia: photo by Matthias Süßen, 2003
Delphinium grandiflorum: Sydenham Edwards, from The Botanical Register, 1820
Large Blue butterfly (Maculinea arion): photo by Pengannel, 2006


Anonymous said...

Is this sad? I am thinking, this is sad. But then maybe it is just a natural occurance.
'her shattered wings' has an effect on me.

TC said...


This is of course the fair and proper question and I must say that Yes, the poem is surely more than a a bit sad, and that I have put the sadness in there with the words "poisoned" and "shattered".

The butterflies do indeed have a habitat problem and they ARE indeed hunted and captured and sold as trinkets and toys and made into jewelry and framed and hung upon people's walls.

But with the word "poisoned" I have perhaps poisoned the viewer's mind by making that East Frisian ground fog in the upper photograph seem evil and creeping and sinister, when in fact of course it is merely fog, a harmless natural thing.

You see I must confess I do take these liberties of imposition by casting a little tone or spell over the posts so that a mood is created, and in that mood the brokenness and vulnerability of the butterfly is brought forward. For when I look into the dwindling numbers of these creatures I see the poignancy of their declension and also the poignancy of our loss, for we are that much the worse for their soon being gone.

So I suppose, finally, by "poisoned garden" I merely meant the planet of the humans.

Anonymous said...

I like reading something the writer has written and seeing such through my own mind's eye. Then reading such again after the writer has explained (thank you) why such and such was written.
One question can trigger a whole lot, can't it?
Ok can you please to go through all your babies in 'Light and Shade' for me now?