General Poetry posted April 30, 2017

This work has reached the exceptional level
Moving from fixed form to free verse (see note)


by tfawcus

A flutter caught my eye,
a wing,
perhaps the ghost of one
bestirred by sudden chill,
to dissemble flight again,
as I had seen on hazy summer days
of sage and thyme,
when a swarm of butterflies
uprose, as if just one,
a kaleidoscope of colour.
Each one caught the light and spun,
then drifted skywards,
out of sight.
Migration had begun.

The glory of the moment brought to mind
Christ's time on earth,
a glimpse of heaven.
Disciples, too, were overawed,
but then, as now,
the image was denied by other urgencies,
the frailty of man,
and the brief time was gone.
or so it seemed, once the spirit passed.

Yet here, as then,
a whispered, subtle breath began
to resurrect the memory
and make it live again.
Though the body's withered,
the spirit it contains
seems animate,
yearning for migration, as do we,
to join the host,
the heavenly host,
on wings of butterflies.

Poem of the Month contest entry


During Pantygynt's current Free Verse course, I explored writing the same, or very similar, poems with fixed rhyme and meter, then in blank verse and, lastly, in free verse. I've chosen to post the free verse form but here, for those interested, are the other two. Any comments on the comparative merits would be appreciated;

Blank Verse version (unrhymed iambic pentameter)

Wings stilled in death upon the hard cold stone
are lifted by the wind in mockery
of their once golden flight, and summer days
remembered in a haze of sage and thyme,
when in their swarms these countless butterflies
in spirals catch the sun on wings outspread,
reflecting shards of light like rays of hope,
to dazzle the beholder, and he thought
of it as heaven here on earth again,
as in the time of Christ, when man was blessed
to see a vision of divinity.
Again the Holy Ghost bestirs a corpse,
to animate its spirit with a breath
to make it soar aloft amongst the souls
of those migrating butterflies who search,
as did their brethren here before my eyes,
for warmer climes, 'fore winter stalled their flight.

The same poem rendered in the style of George Herbert (1593-1633). I have used the rhyme scheme (ABABCC) and rhythm (Alternate pentameter and trimeter, mainly iambic) from a poem of his called "Love". Recognised as one of the foremost British devotional lyricists, he also wrote about Nature, extolling its merits as part of God's magnificent Creation. I have aimed for a similar connection. (This, by the way, was the first version, from which the other two were constructed.)

Wings stilled in death upon the hard cold stone,
but for a gentle breeze
that gives them second life, to tease and turn
the mind to memories
of sage and thyme, and days of summer sighs
when swarms of butterflies,

spiralled to the skies. A kaleidoscope
of fragments, shards of light,
confused the eye with wordless joy and hope,
bedazzled by this sight
of heaven. Thus Christ Jesus rose again
defying grief and pain.

Again the tomb is open and winds impel
subtle resurrection,
reminding us, beyond the tolling bell,
of divine connection,
as spirits will from worldliness migrate,
to gain a higher state.
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