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Wednesday, July 7, 2010


The Genesis of the Butterfly by Victor Hugo

The dawn is smiling on the dew that covers
The tearful roses; lo, the little lovers
That kiss the buds, and all the flutterings
In jasmine bloom, and privet, of white wings,
That go and come, and fly, and peep and hide,
With muffled music, murmured far and wide.
Ah, the Spring time, when we think of all the lays
That dreamy lovers send to dreamy mays,
Of the fond hearts within a billet bound,
Of all the soft silk paper that pens wound,
The messages of love that mortals write
Filled with intoxication of delight,
Written in April and before the May time
Shredded and flown, playthings for the wind's playtime,
We dream that all white butterflies above,
Who seek through clouds or waters souls to love,
And leave their lady mistress in despair,
To flit to flowers, as kinder and more fair,
Are but torn love-letters, that through the skies
Flutter, and float, and change to butterflies

The butterfly pictured above is from The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a wonderful children's book written by Eric Carle.  I had to look Hugo up.  He lived in the 1800's and as well as poetry he is famous for writing Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame


  1. Orla, just reading about the Butterfly reminded me that I did write a poem about the butterfly myself and it was actually published in Riposte
    But after looking everywhere I now cannot find it anywhere


  2. That's a shame Tommy. I would like to read it if you do find it! I have one very short poem about a butterfly.

  3. Well Orla I just found the poem and here it is


    It isn't easy
    Trying to make sense
    Of these impromptu
    Little sketches

    And I need more than
    A fleeting glimpse
    To appreciate the subtly
    Of these ostentatious moments

    Unless you're trying to tell me
    That I too
    Might one day
    Emerge from the darkness

    That I too
    Would have my twenty seconds of summer
    And walk in a world
    Beyond my wildest dreams.

  4. aw Tommy that brought a big smile to my face. I love the last two verses and the final verse especially. I would say should "subtly" be "subtlety"? Thank you for sharing. I think you capture the essence of the butterfly.