The butterfly’s wings beat gentle
as it settles brown wings
onto the flowers I carry.
It stays as I walk
down the twisting pathway
towards you. It flutters
away before we get there
but through it, I feel you with me.
You are there again on a Cornish hillside
in late January sunshine
unexpected, but beating your brown
wings, sunbathing in the rays
you dance around us, to let us know
that you are there with us
before vanishing into the hedgerow.
I see you again closer to home
on a scorching summer’s day
you fly in to check up on us
lazily circling around
in the heat and I watch
you rise and dive
among the bright flowers
that still thrive
despite the fierce, blazing sun
and the wily hands of time and neglect.
Waking up to smell summer in the air,
dry heat rising from the earth
the birds sing
the river is at low tide
sunlight sparkles in the shallows.
People are dead, night-time terror
screams ring through the air
chaos reigns, everything plays out in slow motion
while summer pokes her head
through the door, sees death
and destruction strewing the way
and bows away for another day.
They say that bad luck comes in threes
and there were three of you
when I got home. Three rooks waiting
in the house, your mess an omen
like we were living in a du Maurier story.
The first of you, I found, splayed out on the floor
wings stretched out, black eyes glassy – staring
you were light to lift, easy to remove
and I thought my job done.
The second was still breathing, sitting perched
in the window, staring out at the great beyond.
you didn’t move or flap as I approached
and when you were gone,
I thought that we were done.
The last was harder to find. Just a wing
poking out from under a shelf
hidden in the shadows and I don’t know
how you got stuck down behind the case
your body wedged awkwardly
so that we might not have seen you at all.
Even after you’d gone
I sensed you still, lingering, watching, your eyes
fixed on me, following as I went on living.
They hang them from the trees, the truths
The day the diggers came, we all stared the other way.