eulogy · poetry

Monarch

monarch butterfly

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Monarch Queen,

I discovered you yesterday afternoon,

motionless, along the roadside.

Using a stick, I hoped you would

cling to it, so you could be transported

to safer ground. 

It felt as if you did,

although weakly,

and so I gingerly lifted you

onto the plastic bag holding the new phone book.

Knowing where there were milkweed out back,

I stepped through the tall grass

and blackberry thorns to deliver you.

I slipped your still inert body onto a leaf

and walked over to the water. 

A slight breeze rippled the surface

as a heavy life form leapt in,

causing mini-waves.

I turned to look at you again before walking

back to the house.

Alas, you’d been blown from the leaf

and were laying upside down on the grass.

At first it looked like your torso was gone.

I flipped you over to dispel the vision.

One of your antennae were missing.

You were light as a feather.

Why didn’t I feel your diaphanosity before?

Sympathy washed over me.

What far land had you traveled from

only to be snuffed by a motored beast

as you neared your prize?

The Daily Post — Prompt: Sympathy

16 thoughts on “Monarch

      1. I was reading a recent translator saying some of the nuances get lost on the translation to English and the original point there being the need to keep a separation to keep things full, like life and death. But honestly I’m just replicating someone else’s opinion that made sense. Too much of a rookie to be able to discuss in such depth

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      2. As to translation, there are several excellent ones out there. If you want to get to what might be closer in interpretation, go to a native Chinese speaker who has translated to English. Find, “The Butterfly as Companion: Meditations on the first three chapters of the Chuang Tzu”, by Kuang-Ming Wu.

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    1. Your guess is as good as mine. If a master is trying to teach a student, it is possible the master would be pushing their way as the best way. But as a student gets to a certain point, they are ideally supposed to surpass the master if the master taught them properly. Your student “flips the script” on the master in your story. Perhaps your story is the next chapter in the story? What do you think?

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      1. That’s what it is indeed. The master telling her there must be some level of separation between forms and application, which she later learned to agree, but her main journey is her trying to surpass the master, eliminating all barriers. Ironically, as she achieves that, she reaches a level of skill and vision where it doesn’t matter anymore, and she really can’t show anyone cause nobody can see what she sees.

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    2. p.s. What I know about Master Chuang is that a big focus for him was looking at things from different perspectives and not wanting to be pinned down to an absolute. “This” and “that” are merely observances from the point of view of the observer.

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