The painted lady

An image of a Painted Lady butterfly, among the most common in the British Isles, from Wikipedia Common.
 Didier Descouens – Own work. Painted Lady – Dorsal sideCC BY-SA 4.0
File:Vanessa cardui MHNT CUT 2013 3 14 Pontfaverger-Moronvilliers Dos.jpg
Created: Taken on 10 June 2015
Location: 43° 50′ 30.26″ N, 1° 23′ 23.92″ E

This month’s visual stimulus at (February 2022, or Volume 9 Chapter 4) was very confusing to me, and elicited no response at all from my poetic sensibility, until I remembered a feeling from only a week or so ago.

~So, this short poem is in a classic format: Shakespearean sonnet in iambic pentameter, alternate line rhyming until the final couplet which rhymes with itself. A format that is rarely encountered these days in contemporary poetry journals, pamphlets, books, as far as I can make out. Never mind, if it doesn’t work for the modern sensibility, that’s fine — this piece works for me, and brings a sense of quiet joy.


It’s baffled by conservatory glass —
this winter miracle flits to and fro
and I stretch out my hand, a gentle clasp 
a fleshy cup to share imprisoned woe.
Its flutter there a feeling echo of
the severed nerve that’s trapped within  my jaw;
the twitch,  as stymied by the scaffold glove
it meets a wall of leg bone new and raw.

I am a modern miracle, it’s true --
the treatment’s bark was harsh to save the bite.
Irradiation did its job and blew
the tumour far away and out of sight.

Outside I open up my hand — it flies
away, and I’m a quiet bridge of sighs.

One response to “The painted lady”

  1. For a wonderful poetic response to the image, this meditative piece by Cristina M.R. Norcross really resonates:


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