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Belief

May 14, 2014

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Photo and poem by Barbara W. Huntington

When I was a child, the butterfly of belief
Brushed a filmy wing across my forehead
“Chase me, chase me.”
Through churchyards and headstones
I reached out and grasped soft wings against my palm
I held,
Released her
Slept

In my youth, she hid behind napalm clouds of war
Fluttered above a guitar in songs of peace and equality
Was forgotten in the headiness of first love
Lit briefly in the comfort of second
Not knowing if I really held her
Pretended her presence
For my children

In middle age, children gone to chase their own butterflies,
No infinite sky, no fluttering form, a shadowed memory
In the dark cramped rooms of death
Parents, friends, my dying love
His mind and body, gone before the breath stopped
Mocking, mutant memories
No place for butterflies
Too fearful to sleep

My hand numb with grasping what wasn’t there
I felt a tiny foot light on my forehead
“Chase me, chase me.”
Fields of possibilities mimicked a thousand butterflies
Without revealing the one who called
I envied those who knew the objects of the chase lived forever in their hands
I slept

Is she still there just beyond my cushion?
“Chase me, chase me.”
The chase is slower now
Beyond mountain, ashram, Boddhi tree
Always beyond, beyond
A soft brush, a light touch
Hovers, gentle beyond my reach
I sleep

From → Poetry, Uncategorized

2 Comments
  1. There is so much wistfulness and beauty in this poem Barbara, so many lovely moments…I find myself going back to read and re-read…I’m not surprised it’s a prize-winner.

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