Hope & Healing Through Photography and Poetic Expression

Ode To A Butterfly

Ode To A Butterfly
By Thomas Wentworth Higginson

Thou spark of life that wavest wings of gold,
Thou songless wanderer mid the songful birds,
With Nature’s secrets in thy tints unrolled
Through gorgeous cipher, past the reach of words,
Yet dear to every child
In glad pursuit beguiled,
Living his unspoiled days mid flowers and flocks and herds!

Thou winged blossom, liberated thing,
What secret tie binds thee to other flowers,
Still held within the garden’s fostering?
Will they too soar with the completed hours,
Take flight, and be like thee
Irrevocably free,
Hovering at will o’er their parental bowers?

Or is thy lustre drawn from heavenly hues,
A sumptuous drifting fragment of the sky,
Caught when the sunset its last glance imbues
With sudden splendor, and the tree-tops high
Grasp that swift blazonry,
Then lend those tints to thee,
On thee to float a few short hours, and die?

Birds have their nests; they rear their eager young,
And flit on errands all the livelong day;
Each fieldmouse keeps the homestead whence it sprung;
But thou art Nature’s freeman,—free to stray Unfettered through the wood,
Seeking thine airy food,
The sweetness spiced on every blossomed spray.

The garden one wide banquet spreads for thee,
O daintiest reveller of the joyous earth!
One drop of honey gives satiety;
A second draught would drug thee past all mirth.
Thy feast no orgy shows;
Thy calm eyes never close,
Thou soberest sprite to which the sun gives birth.

And yet the soul of man upon thy wings
Forever soars in aspiration; thou
His emblem of the new career that springs
When death’s arrest bids all his spirit bow.
He seeks his hope in thee
Of immortality.
Symbol of life, me with such faith endow!

Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908)
An American Anthology, 1787–1900. 1900


Click here to see  Feature post: Thy Wings

5 responses

  1. Julie Catherine

    What a beautiful poem; an inspiring tribute to one of nature’s most beautiful gifts! I love this, thank you so much for sharing it with us. ~ Julie xox

    December 15, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    • Thank you Juile!! So glad you enjoyed this!! ~ Love to you, Robyn

      December 15, 2012 at 11:50 PM

  2. Oh, how I love that poem! Thank you so much for sharing, Robyn!
    I just read some of your blogs and watched your brilliant photos. I can’t help but being constantly amazed!
    Great work!
    Lots of greetings from snowy Germany, Susi

    January 25, 2013 at 1:11 AM

    • So much thanks Susi ~ am so glad you enjoyed this. I thought it was special too ~ Sending you love and light this evening – and feel welcome to drop in any time ~ x Robyn Lee

      January 25, 2013 at 1:28 AM

      • I will follow your blog, Robyn. So nice to meet you 🙂
        Here it is Friday morning yet and so I will start the new day. Hugs from Susi

        January 25, 2013 at 2:14 AM

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