Clattery MacHinery on Poetry

December 7, 2006

Butterfly Wisdom, poet unknown

   

   

Gutenberg.org has recently uploaded a book called Pages for Laughing Eyes by Unknown. In it are short yarns for children, some themed to the winter holidays, and quite a few poems, making it a good book to take out for bedtime stories.

Two of the poems, “Butterfly Wisdom” and “When I Grow Up”, are included below, along with the picture “A Busy Street”.
   

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Butterfly Wisdom

img011.jpg

                A butterfly poised on a wild-rose spray,
                As a child tripped by one summer day,
                And he thought: “How sorrowful she must be
                To know she can never have wings like me!”
                But the child passed on, with a careless eye
                Of the gay-winged, proud, young butterfly,
                While he fluttered about, as butterflies will,
                Sipping of honey and dew his fill.

                The butterfly spread his wings to the sky,
                As the sweet-faced child again tripped by,
                And he thought: “How envious she will be
                My beautiful azure wings to see!”
                But the child passed, with a lightsome heart,
                Where never had lodged a poisonous dart,
                While he fluttered about, as butterflies will,
                Sipping of honey and dew his fill.

img012.jpg

                When the child again passed the wild-rose sweet,
                A bit of azure fell at her feet;
                She lifted it from the moss, and said:–
                “Poor little butterfly, it is dead!”
                Then she tossed it up towards the wild-rose spray,
                And, singing merrily, went her way,
                With never a thought, the summer through,
                Of the butterfly and its wings of blue.

   

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When I Grow Up

img38a.jpg

                        “When I grow up my dress shall be
                        All made of silk and lace,
                My hair I’ll wear in some fine style
                        That best will suit my face;
                With rings upon my fingers, too,
                        And bracelets on my arms,
                I’ll be the finest lady out,
                        With wondrous mighty charms.

                        “When I grow up, you understand,
                        I’ll always dine at eight,
                And go to dances and ‘At homes,’
                        And sit up very late.
                I’ll never touch rice-puddings then,
                        But pastry eat, and cheese,
                And always do just what I like
                        And go just where I please.

                        “When I grow up I’ll have no nurse,
                        Nor yet a governess;
                And lessons will not bother me
                        When I grow up, I guess.
                I’ll pay no heed to proper nouns,
                        Nor yet to mood nor tense”–
                Here nurse put in: “When you grow up
                        Let’s hope you’ll have some sense!”

img38b.jpg
   

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A Busy Street

   

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2 Comments »

  1. a chinese poetry
    —————————–
    Seeing a Friend Off

    Green mountains range beyond the northen wall.
    White water rushes round the eastern town.
    Right here is where, alone and restless, he
    Begins a journey of a thousand miles.
    While travelers’ intents are fleeting clouds,
    A friend’s affection is a setting sun.
    He waves good-bye, and as he goes from here,
    His dappled horse lets out a lonely neigh.

    By Li Bai Tr. Stephen Carlson

    Comment by chrishttp://www.spitem.com — December 22, 2006 @ 2:11 am

  2. Hi Chris,

    Love the poem, and an interesting meter to render Li Bai into, similar to the poem above.

    I think the meter creates a distance, as does the third person–although I don’t speak the language as you do, but here’s another:

    A Farewell to a Friend

    With a blue line of mountains north of the wall,
    And east of the city a white curve of water,
    Here you must leave me and drift away
    Like a loosened water-plant hundreds of miles….
    I shall think of you in a floating cloud;
    So in the sunset think of me.
    …We wave our hands to say good-bye,
    And my horse is neighing again and again.

    Thanks very much.

    Bud

    Comment by Bud Bloom — December 22, 2006 @ 3:29 am


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