NaPoWriMo Day 18 Poetry Challenge
Optional prompt for the day takes its cue from how poetry can help us to make concrete the wild abstraction of a feeling like grief. “The Lost Pilot” does this, as does this poem by Victoria Chang, called “Obit.” In both poems, loss is made tangible. They take elusive, overwhelming feelings, and place them into the physical world, in part through their focus on things we can see and hear and touch. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write an elegy of your own, one in which the abstraction of sadness is communicated not through abstract words, but physical detail. This may not be a “fun” prompt, but loss is one of the most universal and human experiences, and some of the world’s most moving art is an effort to understand and deal with it.
I wish you, if not happy, then meaningful, writing!
Elegy of a Butterfly (WIP)
Click the image below for ease of reading (opens in a new window)
Elegy of a Butterfly
Exhausted the butterfly rests
upon the pure white petals of a daisy.
Paper thin, are the wings
filigreed in fine grey veins
like the hair line cracks of a glazed vase.
Only the faintest movement
of the thorax gives an indication of life.
Slowly the proboscis unfurls
to take a last savouring sip of nectar.
After withdrawing, all movements cease.
The sun slips behind a cloud
bringing dull grey shadows.
Mother Nature quietens her children.
All become still as life slowly seeps
from the frail butterfly.
A frog croaks in the distance,
marking the time of death.
Zephyrus snatches away the butterfly’s last breath.
Then the soft gentle breeze lifts the lifeless soul
carrying it to earth, ready to begin the cycle of re-birth.
Copyright © April 2019 Rose English
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