I enjoyed spending time in the gardens today, and I had the opportunity to witness the wonder and curiously chaotic flight of several butterflies. Whenever I see one this poem, that I memorized nearly twenty years ago, runs through my mind. Often I will recite it aloud, and its playful rhythm makes me happy. Of all my memorized poetry, I love this one for its incredibly descriptive cadence, somehow even sounding like a butterfly’s flight. I hope you enjoy!
Flying Crooked, by Robert Graves
The butterfly, a cabbage-white,
(His honest idiocy of flight)
Will never now, it is too late,
Master the art of flying straight,
Yet has – who knows so well as I? –
A just sense of how not to fly:
He lurches here and here by guess
And God and hope and hopelessness.
Even the acrobatic swift
Has not his flying-crooked gift.
Robert von Ranke Graves, “Robert Graves” (July 1895 – December 1985) was an English poet, novelist, and scholar/translator/writer of antiquity specializing in Classical Greece and Rome. During his long life he produced more than 140 works, and earned his living from writing. Graves’s poems — together with his translations and innovative analysis and interpretations of the Greek myths, his memoir of his early life including his role in the First World War, Goodbye to All That, and his pseudo-historical study of poetic inspiration, The White Goddess — have never been out of print. (source Wikipedia)