Posts Tagged butterfly


The Arctic, after many a summer,

is melting and our magnolia

flowers twice. In more unenlightened times,

a lone frog, even a Common Frog,

appearing at the small water feature

enclosed by ornamental grasses

and bamboo – in a garden frogless

for all the decades we have tended it –

would have been runed with ill omens.


We have butterflies – a number of Peacocks,

some Large Tortoiseshells, an occasional

Comma – but cannot recall the last

caterpillar. We bought a pocket book

of butterflies for our granddaughter.

She chose it. We had seen a Purple Hairstreak

at Wisley, fluttering above the Gunnera

Manicata, the uneatable

‘Giant Rhubarb’ from the deforested

mountains of Brazil. She leafs through the pages.


How old will she by the time it becomes

a book of remembrance?




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Built well before the Mahdi sacked Khartoum,

like a ledger or the Church of England

our house is square, accommodating. Swifts,

each May, pronounce their southern benison

on ashlar cornerstones and dead masons…

A butterfly, lost in the wintry cellar,

seems closed as death but wings part knowingly.

O peacock eyes, how you seduce from purpose

and time! Imperial birds cry harshly

in paper gardens… At dusk, in indigo,

swifts dissolve. The house is white, seems solid

as a steamship. Darwin and Marx sent more

than smoke up the funnel.




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