In Flight with Butterflies

In Flight with Butterflies

The Poet 

Richard Inya is an award-winning poet and short story writer. Apart from his literary engagements, he works with the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike Ikwo, Ebonyi State. He writes and writes and writes.

The Poem 

-          Richard Inya

Not the flowers that bloomed

Not the air – serene and fresh

Offered the ambiance of rest –

But butterflies in fluttering flight

Floating, dancing to mute tunes

Held my eyes and lulled my mind 

The first was a beam of blue rays –

Swimming gleefully in the mid-sky

Cyan dots patterned her wings –

Opening wide like the full petals

Of a hale and hearty hibiscus

Another from a near distance

Was a zebra – monochrome silk –

A spectrum of faded tones

Each stripe was a quiet stream

Coursing to meet an unknown river

Next came the peacock – coy –

Flying in no direction – random –

Going where the wind led

In shyness, none can be shyer

Than a butterfly in undecided flight

Touching everything, holding onto none

There squirmed the goldfish – glossy

In lively lines and a few faint ones

Like thoughts hidden in watermarks

She came shimmering before my face

And at the breezy overture of the wind

Struggled like a vessel tossed under

The arm of a vaulting sea – struggling

The last in my view was a lone girl

Flapping, brimming with excitement

Like the sweetheart of a doting lover

In plush velvety she was half-clad like

A dragon-fly, yet bejeweled with grace

There lay many dreams in her eyes

As she explored the brow of a leaf

Green, patterned after the design

On my mother’s seasonal dress

The one she was dressed in that day

She rode on a stretcher into the mortuary

Trapped at the confluence of feelings

I gaped at the helms of her wings

Studded with ornaments deluxe and rare

And while my eyes wandered around her

A lizard caught her between his lips

And what was left of beauty was dust

The Story 

The above poem was inspired by a reflection on the vanity of human struggles, crass quest for wealth and power. I thought deeply about this, especially how it happens that once one's eyes are shut in death, everything about them ends. Here, beauty and admiration of such held the poet's attention as he watched different butterflies in their flight in his garden. From the last stanza, one can see how the most admirable of them ended up in the mouth of a lizard. That's how we relate with life.


Post a Comment