Tuesday, December 6, 2011

the butterfly hole

There are many connections between this and the last post, "a funny thing happened on the way to a life."  They are companions in a way, but I imagine the differences between them will stand out more than the similarities.  

If Shel Silverstein wrote about the topic of discovering yourself (and it's entirely possible he did), it might have sounded something like this... 

the butterfly hole

For years I would watch the butterflies
that randomly flitted by
never really knowing what they were
bits of magic in the sky.

Where do butterflies come from?
As a question I thought it quite fair
until I discovered a hole in my head
hiding right beneath my own hair!

Now a hole, people say, is a bad thing,
something that ought to be fixed.
Walking 'round town
with a hole in your crown
is just no way to go
(this we all know)
unless you’re a whale
or an ‘o.’

People said my hole was a problem
and with people I try to agree.
But when I peeked inside that hole
there were living things peeking at me!

Their bug eyes were wide and unblinking
skinny black legs poked out at the top.
I had to use three mirrors to see them
and a flashlight tied to a mop.

Those poor things inside are trapped,
the hole in my head way too small!
Only the teeny-tiniest ones
could wriggle their way out at all.

They looked so wishful and pleading
so I set out to widen the spot.
I found a good spade, polished the blade
and stuck it gently into the slot.

Yes I know that it must’ve looked silly
(you know how people will sometimes complain)
What is that strange man up to, they said.
He’s shoveling out his own brain!

But dig I did, and when I was done
there was a whoosh! and a sudden dazzle
as a magician’s magic hankerchief  
of butterflies streamed from my skull!

More butterflies to tickle the eyes
more colors than I could have seen.
Great, bold, bright-as-the-sun ones
small, plain, hardly-there-at-all ones
and everything else in between.

Now I pass through each day
in the most unusual way
in a cloud of wonders
a blizzard of colors
a sea of confetti wings.

I must be a sight to those passing by
the butterfly man, some may call me.
Or, the giant-hole-in-his-head guy
depending on what they choose to see.

But I’ve no time for that
- I don’t dare wear a hat -
I’ve got all I can do
describing a few
of the millions that flutter by me.


  1. I really enjoyed this. Could be included in a new book coming out entitled "Where the sidewalk ends on Cactus Wren" or "Falling up and out of my career as a postal carrier," or even "The Kevin Tree - Thoughts and musings by mister Thorson as he "roots" out his fears, "branches" out toward his dreams, and hopes he isn't "bark"ing up the wrong tree!"

  2. Ha! Brilliant! You get the official job of naming my first book of poetry, if there ever is such a thing. BTW, I've barked up enough wrong trees by now to know that I've finally found the right tree. Now I just hope I'm not the wrong dog.