A speck of vivid,
As I bank myself on a bench
I see it follow fitfully in zigs
Until it lands on my hand.
Startled, my fingers wriggle rhythmically,
Eager to agitate it upwards
Into a hover, if not high flight.
But the butterfly remains at rest,
All quivering color.
I fall for fascination.
My breath running out,
I hold my limbs still,
Pretending I am almost deceased.
As the butterfly lingers on my fingers,
I am tempted to possess it,
Pressing it into a book with my leaves,
With a beloved’s leave I weaved into a poem,
The final word spoken the first of its verse.
If I should dare to breathe
For just a single inhalation,
I would recite as I exhaled outwards,
See my poem quicken and quiver,
Mimicking this butterfly.
Attuned to my telepathy,
The butterfly opens then closes its wings
Like two hands peaking in prayer.
Since I am ever more rapt,
Perhaps, it sends a signal to its kind.
More of them are gliding our way.
A second butterfly, a third,
Flits from the air to my arms,
What am I to decipher
From their stripes, their spots,
Their iridescent dots?
We are prone to ignore
The progenitor of mystery
As merely God,
Still desperate to be known.
Omniscient, but a raver,
He has no tongue to speak to us,
No hand to sign us Her thoughts.
Piteous, let us show Him our mercy.
It is as if She is hidden away.
So too am I, on a bench off to the side,
Reposed in the shade of a tree,
Its branches bowed to the ground,
The hallowed ground near the lake.
I try to envision
Who might read or listen
To my future revelations.
I fear they will not,
And walk away, or turn the page.
I must rive this reverie and rise.
As the wings alight from my arms,
I bid adieu to the joy on my hand.
A rippling river of grass
Invites me into its swim,
The butterflies wavering above,
The dragonflies diving beneath.
I search for the one whose first word
Is the first of many firsts.
Not just the heartbreaker,
I also seek the Alpha and Omega,
His clues, Her hues
If God should prove elusive,
Consider his humans:
Determined and forever sleuths.
As I wrote these final lines,
My pen began to run dry.
I leave it with an open notebook
On the bench, abandoned.
There they are for you to recover.
Even as you wander
(And I hope you wander wide),
May you sometimes wonder why,
And what became.
Franciscan Retreat Center
Prior Lake, Minnesota
August 12th, 13th, 2016
Revised August 15th-August 20th, 2016
Final Line Revision, August 25th, 2016
Other Line Revisions, August 30th, September 10th, 2016