Little girl as butterfly public domain (Custom)


A poem by Kelly Dean


I like to think that butterflies hold souls of little children

Who twist and turn in flight as if there were no bounds to hold them

As if they’re playing tag “you’re it!” – in playful darts and swings

As when they flit from bud to bud, on childhood-freedom’s wings


On powdered tufts in weightlessness they move without a care

And seek the gusts in laughing twists and flip upon the air

They seldom worry if a turn might be the wrongish play

They simply change their mind and merely whiff the other way


A butterfly is gold as suns and red like fires too

They’re even blue and white and black, can be most any hue

They often have small spots like freckles dotted on their wings

And sometimes tails like kites and curly shapes and other things


And when they sit, hypnotic wings will slowly pulse in place

Just like the calming breaths kids take when finished with a race

Yet slower up and down their wings keep pace with childlike thoughts

That never stray to panic, malice, just sweet nectar spots


In lieu of merely watching them, some take to nets and pens

Use balls of cotton, soaked in sleep then stick their pins in them

In shadow coffins’ covered glass displayed upon a wall

Nymphets no more, those on display, mere trophies they are called


If eggs are laid upon a leaf there soon will make a brute —

The caterpillar’s needful mouth might chomp the leaf or root

‘Till garden farmer comes along with sprays to smote its life

As being inconvenient means no worm — no butterfly


“It’s just a sack that makes this worm, which eats up other things!

It interferes! I have the right, to keep my garden clean!”

And on a branch the blue bird waits to claim such ill-timed muse

By catching life in claw-like beaks before it ever moves


Or lizards wait behind a fence for butterflies less young

Who’ve made life’s tragic error’s turn to meet with judgment’s tongue

If older, that dire turn could bring them to a farmer’s spray,

“They all are inconvenient! Sure, we’re mad! They’re in the way!”


To think such vengeance lain upon what was a butterfly

Once beautiful and young — a sprite once dancing in the sky

Surviving: blowing through life’s storms, mean birds and other things

While only seeking shelter, nectar, wind upon a wing


I always pause and watch the butterflies among my day

And smile in wonderment until they flit and whift away

I stop and think about the little Kinder soul in there

Then thoughts of deeming “petty life” brings feckless moral despair


Yet blue birds must forgive themselves the butterflies they ate

Find courage, strength to change their mind and turn that poor worm’s fate

And face the factum:  beauty always comes from small cocoons

Life’s truly inconvenient truth that sometimes shows too soon


That life is life – it’s all a life – the rest are poor excuses

Or we’re just haughty primates who dehumanize abuses

‘Cause fearful children’s souls in butterflies might wonder then:

“Were butterflies not here, where will my soul then end?”


— Kelly Dean

Dedicated to the Butterfly People of Joplin, Missouri