Why this?

The occasional poem of my own and a generous helping of work by others that I find inspiring. Site is named for a beloved book by one of my favorite writers, Italo Calvino, whose fanciful work lights--and delights--my soul.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Little Champion

When I get hopeless about human life,
which, to be frank, is far too difficult for me,
I like to remember that in the desert there is
a little butterfly that lives by drinking urine

And when I have to take the bus to work on Saturday,
to spend an hour opening the mail,
deciding what to keep and throw away,
one piece at a time,

I think of the butterfly following its animal around,
through the morning and the night,
fluttering, weaving sideways through
the cactus and the rocks.

And when I have to meet all Tuesday afternoon
with the committee to discuss new by-laws,
or listen to the dinner guest exhaustively describe
his recipe for German beer,

or listen to the scholar tell, once more,
about her campaign to destroy, once and for all,
the vocabulary of heteronormativity,

I think of that tough little champion
with orange and black markings on its wings
resting in the shade beneath a ledge of rock
while its animal sleeps nearby;

and I see how the droplets hang and gleam among
the thorns and drab green leaves of desert plants
and how the butterfly alights and drinks from them
deeply, with a stillness of utter concentration.

--Tony Hoagland 

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