Seven of Clubs: Butterfly Fish


A flutter of butterflies flies,
aflutter in sumptuous skies
dancing between rise and fall
forming a quivering rainbow. Still,
nothing in comparison:
With the group, a fish
denies its uniqueness,
flying naturally above the waves.
One being, tracing a humble miracle
across the eclipsed kaleidoscope.

Through the rippling looking glass,
searching for a home,
a school of fish flits fleetly,
fostering a misplaced wish:
One butterfly amongst them all
is lost, a great frenzied flutter
in water makes no difference.
To the others it is much easier
to follow the flow
through the ocean. They pass

through the rippling looking glass,
searching for a home.
A school of fish flits fleetly,
fostering a misplaced wish:
Nothing in comparison
with the group, a fish
in water, makes no difference
to the others. It is much easier
to follow the flow.
Through the ocean they pass.

A flutter of butterflies flies,
aflutter in sumptuous skies.
dancing between rise and fall
forming a quivering rainbow still.
One butterfly amongst them all
is lost. A great frenzied flutter
denies its uniqueness,
flying naturally above the waves,
one being, tracing a humble miracle
across the eclipsed kaleidoscope.

This week’s cards included a butterfly blenny, and a butterfly whose German name makes me think of mother-of-pearl… so essentially a butterfly fish (but not this kind) and a fish butterfly. So I decided to write a poem about a butterfly and a fish looking miraculous but feeling out-of-place in each others’ habitats, then switching and becoming comfortable without standing out. The image I had of this was of a blue fish on a white background, above a white bird or butterfly on a blue background, moving toward each other until they switch places and all you have is a Bavarian flag.

Of course, this is a writing thing a week, not an art one, so I did the next best thing, by switching the lines about the fish amongst the butterflies and the butterfly amongst the fish between stanzas, so that they’d end up in the right places. This was a lot like writing a pantoum, in that each line has to have two quite different meanings depending on context and punctuation. It was harder than a pantoum though, because longer passages had to remain intact together with new meanings. I would have loved to make the last two stanzas rhyme throughout, and the first two rhyme except for the out-of-place lines. However, it was difficult enough to make it make sense that there isn’t really even a regular rhythm, and what rhythm there is is destroyed by punctuation changes, so rhymes would go unnoticed. I did choose ‘wish’ and ‘fall’ (the last two lines I wrote, to make sure there was the same number of lines on either side of the intrusion) as a half-hearted attempt at this, and I bet you didn’t even notice. To compensate, I made a half-hearted attempt to add alliteration at all iterations.

I completely forgot about the letter G until I was preparing to take the photo.

And a factoid to make you forget that: ‘flutter’ is not an accepted collective noun for butterflies, but ‘kaleidoscope’ is.

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