Treasure Island

Raj Arumugam


butterfly poems


1 wing pages of the butterfly

at the nursery
while people
are at purchase
and at transactions
a blue butterfly
comes by
and opens its pages to me
swift and quick
and it says to me:
'Read! Read!
Read my pages! '


'I can’t read, '
I say,
amused
at this brash butterfly

'Read and write!
Read and write
about me,
and all flitting butterflies
Read
and write, you silly! '
it commands

And so I read
and I copy
and these are the words
the words from those
pages
the butterfly
holds up to me






2 song of the butterfly


'butterfly
butterfly
w hy do you fly? '

I’ve got wings
I’ve got aerodynamics
so I flit about
and I fly:
for I just got to be

'O I wish
I really wish
I too could fly
flit and fly
fly and flit
just like you
I wish I could fly'

O you can
O you can
flit about and fly
you mortal on the ground
you can fly
if you use your mind
if you try
if you try





3 the boy and the butterfly

'O butterfly
where do you go
so busy, so fast
moving about in a hurry? '

O I move up and down
and across and sideways
I have to go and go and go
little boy
just like you jump and run
just like you roll and play
just as active as you are
just being in the joy of me




4 the girl and the butterflies


'O butterflies
of all colors
butterflies of purple, green
and maroon and gold
O I love your colors!
I love each glow! '

And we so love
the colors of your dresses too
little girl;
we love the colors in each dress
you wear every time
you come to see us in the fields
and O we do
we so love the glow in your cheeks



5 butterfly time

you live a week
at most a year
dear butterfly...
a week
a year;
and so we too,
though we may count in a hundred,
are subject to quick passing…




6 butterfly: a lesson in history

O butterfly
tell me true
how did you get
your name?
Is it true as some say?
from your poo?


I’ll tell you how
we got the name 'butterfly'...
well, in the days of old
when no one knew
what to call us
for we were all nameless then
there was a poet
who instead of making money
just like you
deliberated on questions
of what shall I call this thingy that
flies about?
and as he sat at his table
wondering of names
his indignant wife would throw things at him
to get him to work and earn some bread
instead of depending on her father’s estate;
and she would let things fly at him
things like a spoon, knife, wood,
clothes – and one day she threw the butter at him
and it was then that the penniless poet had inspiration
and he shouted: 'Butterfly! '
and that’s how we were christened
because the witless poet saw some
similarity between butter and fly
and so we have ever to fly about
with this heavy weight of the butter
on our delicate wings





7 the butterfly hunter


O hunter
butterfly collector
let us be
We got a life
we love to fly
and we got family


O don’t catch us
don’t bottle us
don’t gas us
let us be

we love to fly
and we love to bring joy
to poets in gardens;
we love to bring laughter
to children in the fields


O please, Collector
do not bring death to us

O hunter
butterfly collector
let us be
We got a life
we love to fly
and we got family

(above poem based on painting: Der Schmetterlingsjäger (The butterfly hunter) by Carl Spitzweg (1840) , a depiction from the era of butterfly collection)




8 names of the butterfly


the butterfly has a
thousand names
as many as there are languages
and in each even more names:
papillon, paruparo, borboleta, mariposa,
schmetterling, farfalla, fluture, drugelis, sommerfug,
pattampoochi, farasha, prajapathi,
thithili, chocho, hu-tieh
and so on, names a thousand and more
but the silliest name
illogical, unimaginative, and most clichéd
in all the world
is in Plain Jane English:
butterfly…



9 a picnic, some butter, and a fly


I sat down for a picnic
and wondered
what I could spread on my bread
and soon an idea came by;
and so with my left hand
I shooed away the fly
and with my right
spread evenly the butter




10 nature of the butterfly


people say the butterfly is beautiful
but if its jerky flight and nervous twitches
were made into music
it’d sound more a cacophony than a symphony




11 a queensland butterfly

butterfly is in an inapt name
for those in the state of Queensland
for the they’d melt in the very heat in summer
and so, really, since the butterfly’s wings open up like a book
I’d rather call it pagefly
or an e-readerfly
or flutterby or bye-bye or even by-the-by




12 the erotic butterfly


just three butterflies
cover my love
better than silk or sari


13 butterfly and wisteria

Ah, butterfly
you are in your own:
you flutter gently
and you see the wisteria;
and you are in natural rhythm
and you will eat, now that the time
and place are right


14 be you makers of beauty

'maybe a few words, '
I ask of the butterfly
that is resting on radiant leaves
and the butterfly says:
'Be you makers of beauty…'

Submitted: Tuesday, March 29, 2011

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