MY HEAD IS FULL OF INTANGIBLE MEMORABILIA. Yesterday afternoon I was sitting in my backyard, keeping an eye on one of my cats (the fence jumper), enjoying the sunshine, when a yellow and black butterfly flitted past. It landed momentarily on a dwarf azalea, then moved on to a newly blossomed camelia, then fluttered over to a blade of grass, finally over the fence and on to its unfettered future. That’s precisely what my memory does, I thought. It’s like a drunken butterfly, flitting about from object to object, sniffing some pollen, drinking some moisture, examining whatever oddity happens to be within its lopsided flight path, and then heading off to whatever its next target might become. There seems to be no apparent plan or predictability to its movement, and my memory is not much better. Plus, since my memory is much older than the butterfly (average life span: one month), there are thousands of directions my memory could take, uncountable paths of reminiscence over which I might meander in uninhibited glee or lugubrious regret. Out of what H. L. Mencken called “the chaos of memory and perception” I produce these innocent little posts each day. So if you’re reading this, pretend I’m just a butterfly.
A admiral I would say Henry not just any old butterfly 🦋 xx
Your memorabilia has been very effective for stimulating my own.
In this case – one of my favourite poems by Robert Graves:
The butterfly, the cabbage white,
(His honest idiocy of flight)
Will never now, it is too late,
Master the art of flying straight,
Yet has — who knows so well as I? —
A just sense of how not to fly:
He lurches here and here by guess
And God and hope and hopelessness.
Even the aerobatic swift
Has not his flying-crooked gift.
However, the memories of juxtaposing the butterfly with one’s own life has it’s darker side. I recall when submitting one of my theses to an academic institution, they insisted that I removed much of what I ‘felt’ and only include that which was deemed by them to be ‘facts’. I tried to point out that ‘feelings’ were ‘facts’ for the person who feels them, but that perspective did not hold sway for those who were ‘controlling’ the processes of academia.
I duly submitted my revised thesis, but with one of the numbered pages missing ; Once the thesis had passed their inspection and had found its way onto the university archive shelves, I sneaked into the library and pasted my omitted page into its appropriately numbered position.
I figured that when these theses have been ‘examined’ and passed the academic scrutiny , nobody ever reads them again, so my surreptitious intervention would probably never be recognised.
Below is my single-page rendition of my ‘feelings’ towards those (bully-like people) who would take away the ‘colourful’ and ‘meaningful’ elements of my academic endeavours, to leave the work looking like something churned out by a ‘slug/caterpillar’, rather than the colourful, and free nature of the butterfly.
THE WINGS OFF MY BUTTERLFY.
Do those colourful wings represent
what a wanker would really resent.
Could that be the reason why
they plucked the wings off my butterfly.
Could their obsession with caterpillars
characterise these sadistic killers.
Is their intent to re-mummify
by breaking the wings off my butterfly.
There is no reversing the process
of change through metamorphosis.
So why, oh! why would anyone try
by taking the wings off my butterfly.
When wings were wrenched from my Papillon
there was no point to stick them back on.
No hope for it to ever fly
once wings were ripped from my butterfly.
I’ve searched my soul and racked my brain
whilst pondering what someone would gain,
but there is no way to justify
tearing the wings from my butterfly.
If some day, somewhere you see
those wings that once were part of me
you might pause to wonder why
they clipped the wings off my butterfly.
I have said all that needs to be said
for I think that the thing is now dead
I will mourn but can’t rectify
wings once torn from my butterfly.
B. Withers 1993
The concept of ‘wanker’ is defined by me as:
Someone who falsely believes that he/she can
Achieve the same ends or experience via some
Secondary activity, as those who are directly participating.
Wondrous ways of nature. The caterpillar which some people consider ugly doesn't know that one day it will be transformed into a beautiful butterfly. Their frenetic roaming that you describe so well has something to do with the knowledge that their time in that green valley is limited. It is measured in days and hours not months. Tagore on these beautiful creatures: " The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough", and Keats in a letter to Fanny Brawne: " I almost wish we were butterflies and liv'd but three summer days- three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain".
| bowsprit wrote:
Wondrous ways of nature. The caterpillar which some people consider ugly doesn't know that one day it will be transformed into a beautiful butterfly. Their frenetic roaming that you describe so wel...