Butterflies

The forest was one grown

of heart and of spirit,

vibrant and flowering;

and through the blooming blossoms

they flew.

 

Butterflies, in stunning hues

gold, red of passion, and blue

so intense it seemed to glow,

shimmering colors on

the fluttering wings:

through the trees they rushed,

their fragile wings beating a tune,

a throbbing pulse

that would have stirred

even the heart of stone.

They lingered, they grew,

they fed and they flew

until the storm.

 

It rose quickly, decisive,

lashing against the forest

with cracks of thunder and peals of lightning

of such immense force

that bark was stripped from trunk.

If bark stood not a chance,

what chance then had

leaves and petals soft?

And the soft, sweet, tender caress

of a butterfly’s wing

is no match for the wind

of a late summer thunderclap.

 

It did not take long

for the torrent, the deluge

to rain not only water,

but the corpses of butterflies:

crumpled, once-glorious color,

color that now only held the hues of death.

 

The forest was one grown

of heart and spirit,

once vibrant and flowering,

now the graveyard of tens

of thousands

of gaudy, colored insects.

 

Seconds stretched to

minutes, to

hours, to

days, to

weeks.

 

A disillusioned wind began to stir,

a wind that caught broken wings

and lifted them. Butterflies flew again,

in a parody of life they once had

as their carcasses tumbled

through the sighing breeze.

The forest was one grown

of heart and spirit,

once vibrant and flowering,

now a barren wasteland

with skeletal trees stripped to bone.

 

And yet something moved:

a single caterpillar, attempting a pilgrimage

up a bare tree trunk, seeking a branch

where it might one day make a cocoon.

 

Seconds stretched to

minutes, to

hours, to

days, to

weeks.

 

And a lone butterfly

spread its wings,

its wings clearly malnourished

and weak. Feigning not to be

in its death throes, it took to the sky,

matching pace with Icarus.

 

The forest was one grown

of heart and spirit,

not vibrant and flowering,

yet something was starting to grow:

the forest was recovering,

a miracle of Mother Nature

known by all yet understood by none.

 

Sprigs of green could be seen.

The trees, though wounded, produced buds.

And with them, more butterflies

hazarded a journey into the forest,

a journey that was nothing more

than a passing fancy: the forest was not

a forest, but scar tissue

still too tender to touch,

even by one so gentle

as a butterfly.

 

The rainbow hues of these

curious explorers

only graced the forest briefly

before they returned to their usual haunts.

 

Seconds stretched to

minutes, to

hours, to

days, to

weeks.

 

The forest was grown

of heart and spirit,

not vibrant, but flowering.

Again, curiosity drew

the dainty creatures out of hiding.

 

Through the flowering blossoms

they flew, butterflies with the reds

of passion, the blues of times forgotten,

and the speckled black of uncertainty,

of unease. Unease they must have had,

yet they brushed the flowers,

wounded wings working overtime

to work something out of that

which proved unworkable: for try they did,

but solitude the butterflies bequeathed to the buds

almost as soon as they had alighted.

 

Seconds stretched to

minutes, to

hours, to

days, to

weeks.

The forest was one grown

of heart and of spirit,

now vibrant and flowering;

and through the blooming blossoms

they flew.

 

Butterflies, in stunning hues

gold, red of passion, and blue

so intense it seemed to glow,

shimmering colors on

the fluttering wings:

through the trees they rushed,

their fragile wings beating a tune,

a throbbing pulse

that would have stirred

even the heart of stone.

 

They lingered, they grew,

they fed and they flew,

stronger growing,

growing in splendor,

splendorous sight, exciting

a forest once unexcitable, unmoving;

now moving to a heartbeat

of tiny, fluttering wings

that pulse to a singing dance,

a dance that dares to take the chance

that this time perhaps

this song will last.

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