Today is: B. which took me back to "Berlin past present" - and to a Butterfly Show a poet wrote for me.
for Dorothee Lang, written by Molly Gaudry
These transparent paper butterflies are so beautiful I want
to walk the few blocks west to the art supply store in order to
purchase several handmade sheets of paper, all blue -- shiny,
royal blue, baby-blanket blue, tissue-paper blue, turquoise
and periwinkle blue -- and cut, with tiny gold scissors, some
butterflies of my own. I will buy a length of thin gold ribbon,
the kind with the wire edge, and make a day-long braid of it;
I will drop dots of hot glue to the underbellies of my butterflies
and press them gently against each strand of the braid and let
it dry by drifting in the wind, then wind it around the bars
of our gone baby's crib. I will do all of this because it is March,
because soon it will be April, and then Mother's Day and the
rest of the summer that reminds me of when I was pregnant.
One of the worst things I ever saw was at the Conservatory
during the butterfly show; children everywhere, the way they
reached to touch and roughly stroke or crush the butterflies
after luring them with their fingers and noses, which had been
brushed with sugar water. So many crumpled bodies all over
that botanical wonderland; so many smeared streaks beneath
those children's sneakers. But it wasn't this that bothered me
as much as the image of one small, blue butterfly, high in the air,
her desperate wings beating against the crack in the domed glass.
This is interesting: while visiting other A-to-Z blogs, i came across 2 other B-posts with butterflies included, which lead to some notes on butterflies and their symbolism in the comments. I don't know much about their symbolism in other cultures, though, and now did a web search, here are some takes from different cultures:
- Generally: "cultural myth honor the butterfly as a symbol of transformation because of its impressive process of metamorphosis."
- in ancient Greece: "The ancient Greek word for "butterfly" is ψυχή (psȳchē), which primarily means "soul" or "mind"
- and a similar image in Japan: "In Japan, a butterfly was seen as the personification of a person's soul; whether they be living, dying, or already dead."
- in China: "the Mandarin Chinese word for butterfly is "hu-tieh". "Tieh" means "70 years", therefore butterflies have become a symbol for a long life"
The image Berlin past present ... was inspired by the Blue Fifth "Black/White" issue, and turned into the title image of the Blue Fifth Fall Quarterly - Black. For more about the photo, the place, and related notes, visit this Berlin blog note.
The Butterfly Show - is special. I thought I lost those lines, they aren't online any more, and it was while looking for A-stories and adding links to my archive list, that i found them again, copied in an archive file. The poem, it started with a blog note: "For $1.00, I will write you a poem and post it here", poet Molly Gaudry wrote in a self-created poetry challenge. She also asked for a couple of keywords. We only knew each other fleetingly. The poem still touches me.
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