My Butterfly Hunter

It's not really the season for butterfly hunting
but I can't say no to such a hopeful face
battered makeshift old net in one hand
large jam jar with perforated lid in the other
a huge confident grin spurs me into action
searching for my old scrappy shoes and hat

Three year olds don't do silence do they
and so a constant stream of chatter ensues
which secret passageway shall we take today
from the kitchen out back to the garden gate
or shall we split and meet by the greenhouse
these things are important in his small world

We decide on the westerly route for this trip
I am keen to instill some sense of direction
a knowledge of the compass points at least
having intrinsically almost no sense of my own
marking by landmarks the trail back home
pointing out the unusual to act as reminders

We skip along the path by newly bare fields
the harvest already in, leaving golden stubble
but along the edges still long tall grasses grow
and it is to the edge that we head net in hand
I am hoping for grasshoppers or maybe a cricket
some small compensation for my butterfly hunter

Can you concentrate like a young child can
his small body so still and yet also so poised
there is gracefulness in children in motion
but there is even more in a child ready to pounce
my small hunter is quiet as only he knows how
stage whispering his progress through the grass

No butterflies to be had or even to be seen
grasshoppers elusive though heard time and again
finally thirst drives us homewards empty-handed
when the chatter turns to where we come from
how does one explain the birds and the bees
to someone already so knowledgeable at three

I needn't have worried for the answer came from him
he comes from the sun, I apparently from the moon
his brother and sister from the clouds or maybe
from the sun like him, mummy and daddy from the sky
granny and gramps from the ocean definitely not the sea
and did I know what happens when we grow up?

Well I was intrigued to learn more as you can imagine
it seems we become grown-ups, then wolves, then tigers
and finally after we've lived in the jungle for many years
we get to go to live in the sky high up above the night
so we can see the sun and the moon at the same time
and that is how it is in the mind of my butterfly hunter.


There is some peace in knowing a thing
even if the thing in question is not a good thing
or at least not inherently good or bad
for only our interpretation provides the label
time and perspective change even these

I'd thought there was little harm in my doing
harmless escapism from the reality of now
which over time slowly became a necessity
what was once escape became chain-like
entrancing me, links finally entrapping me

Links that gradually turn a person who knows
into one that has forgotten what knowing means
except you never forget some things do you
thinking is the mental equivalent of bike riding
a provider of rational insight even in trying times

But there is a potential trap even here
pride lurks ever present in the thinkers mind
persuading us that thoughts of such value
provide answers in themselves ... ah yes
but without actions thoughts are meaningless

So although there is some peace in knowing
there is also unease, a pause, a hesitation
where is the effect ... the follow through
what value is there in a thought agreed with
but not acted upon ... stasis is no answer

Fundamentally then this is a form of delay
a case of passive resistance masquerading
as thinking it through, or maybe buying time
to what? ... well, to dance just one more time
or two more times, perhaps even just three ....

Do you see how it goes, thinking like this
it is a part of the lunacy, part of the knowing
part of this strange sadness of letting it go
something that seemed at first to be a friend
but under clear skies shows it's uglier face

A friend no more then, a parting of the ways
acceptance beckons upon our acquiescence
as thought becomes resolve and in turn action
but when a friend has two faces it can be hard
to remember the harsher version of the two

And so it is that reminders must be written
this friend can be nice but only for a short while
the consequences of this friendship are dire
things that feel good are not always good for me
friends that are not friends are in fact enemies.

Under open skies

I walked out onto the plains and stood under the open sky
looking over my shoulder at the fringes of the forest
sensing nothing of it’s sinister interior, it’s dark heart
appearances aren’t everything though are they?
take me for example, to meet me you’d never know
that I am a habitual forest dweller, uneasy on the plains
finding the light too harsh, making me feel exposed
reminding me how I long for the shade, the solitude

Reminding me in turn that the forest draws one in
that the paths all lead to it’s depths, spiralling, circling
taking us away from the people we want so much to be
convincing us somehow that darkness outshines light
without dulled senses this makes absolutely no sense
why then does our internal dialogue argue black is white
why is there such allure to losing any sense of ourselves
is it so hard to live happily under these open skies?

So I sit because standing leaves me vulnerable to walking
and walking right now would lead me back tree-wards
so I hold tight to my legs and then fold them under me
kneeling in an attitude of supplication for I need help
and it is only away from the forest that help can help
I am fortunate in having an intimate knowledge of this
even if knowing is not doing, not knowing is worse
for it’s true that without knowing we do without thinking.

Doing without thinking is the curse of the forest dweller
a habitual need to block out the light of clear thought
without thought for the hurt, pain and problems caused
the forest dweller wends his merry way, oblivious
to his beloved plains lovers, sisters, brothers, others
who don’t understand why anyone would want the dark
when living under open skies is so natural a life
a communion with nature, a communion with one another

Solitude beckons some who would rather not be seen
those doing shameful deceitful self-destructive things
the heart of the forest beckons those and others too
some running from pain, from pasts, from themselves
not all who dwell in the forest want a permanent home
visitors wander into the darkness and then stumble out again
having breathed in their fill of the fetid rotted interior
the attraction is not universal, not a panacea, just a lie

Knowing the nature of the lie should be a potent weapon
isn’t knowledge power, does it not feed the will?
does it depend on how damaged the will has become
can even a broken will be mended, made back whole
by continually bathing it with light and telling it truths
like that the forest is dark but the plains are light
like that living under it’s leaves destroys our very souls
and that kneeling out on the plains is better than that.