Butterflies can be a wonderful metaphor for a poem. They symbolize change and transformation via metamorphosis. The image of a scrawny caterpillar forming a chrysalis, seemingly dying, but instead emerging as a beautiful butterfly is potent with potential power for the aspiring poet. The possibilities are endless, for even a moth might stimulate your muse. Did you know that even the native Americans had many myths about butterflies? We think it’s time for some lepidoptera lyrics. Here we share with you three free verse poems. They are original poetry, and you will find them only on Shadow of Iris.
by Justin Thyme
In your late great uncle’s study you find
an old dusty book lying on an antique desk.
It has yellowed pages and crusty corners.
You pick it up and let it fall open,
and there in the center,
dried out and preserved,
is a long ago extinct butterfly.
A draft falls across the page, shaking it.
You catch your breathe and watch
the butterfly shiver and begin to quiver.
You think it’s just the wind,
or the dim light playing a trick on your eyes,
but it’s not—
the butterfly begins to move. It’s a fairy
that comes to life in rainbow iridescence.
It flutters its wings, then flies from the book
and into the old gloomy room.
It falls into an ancient dance of prescience
that it knew long before
you had ever taken your first breathe.
The Butterfly Effect
by Dustin Down
Ghosts whisper secrets.
I listen and forget sins
I’ve known on mornings after—
I think of letters on a pillow,
a history lost on butterfly wings.
I recall the wave of a dolphin’s fin
as it sets off on a pensive task.
I remember reflections
given off from the shadowy form
of a vagrant bird gliding on the wind.
This is the butterfly’s flutter
that gave birth to the thought
of me touching you.
by Emma Blue
The couple had taken the hot air balloon
up high into the sky, where the air was frigid,
so that they’d had to cuddle for warmth,
but the sites they saw made it all worth it,
the whole world was so tiny and all laid out
right there before them—
their hearts leapt with joy.
It was then that the hot air balloon
had begun to fall, all too fast
out of the sky.
Quickly the man pulled the lever
that ignited the balloon’s massive flame—
the air in the balloon heated
and balloon seemed to steady,
but then for some reason,
the flame suddenly puttered out,
and the balloon began to fall again.
Quickly, the man worked with the lever—
he checked the pilot light
and the level of fuel remaining,
but he could see nothing wrong at all,
and yet all the same,
the flame would not ignite.
It seemed that the more they descended
the faster the balloon began to fall,
and it became all to obvious
that by the time
they finally reached the ground
they’d be traveling so fast,
they wouldn’t stand a chance.
It was then that they noticed just below them,
a misty pale blue cloud, near the ground
rising up toward them;
when finally it reached them, they realized
it wasn’t a misty cloud at all,
but a multitude of large pale blue butterflies.
The butterflies all hovered around
the deflating balloon, glistening;
they were vast and dense;
they landed anywhere they could
on the hot air balloon’s surface,
each grabbed its own little minuscule piece
until the rapid fall began to slow
from the pull of who knew how many
The balloon’s wicker basket hit the ground
in a shaky bump, but the couple was okay,
and as the balloon fell next to them,
the multitude of butterflies began to let go
and to flutter back toward each other and up;
the couple only watched as the pale blue cloud
gently rose and faded into the sky—
they waved and shouted amid tears of thanks.
What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly.
– Richard Bach
We hope you enjoyed these poems. Maybe you’ll crawl into your own chrysalis of contemplation and emerge with beautiful wings of your own. Wouldn’t that be neat? We hate to have to remind you again, but if you haven’t dones so already, please subscribe to our poetry updates.