“From the age of seven, everything I felt in connection with a rectangle of framed sunlight was dominated by a single passion. ~ Vladimir Nabokov ~ “Speak, memory”
There's a chink in the shutter and once more the door of the past flies open. Like the pretty captive insect it only needs a chink to emerge A boy full of summers pushing up through the flowers daylight packed with endless hours the softest sound of butterfly nets Such a desperation of desire they lit. I lay each down, pinned to gaze and gaze upon. Entombed. Dazzling motionless wings Every daedal design I took to heart. In quiet intimacy of muffled deaths - then immortality. I recall them all by name There's that chink in the shutter the door to the skies invites detached from this bed, I'm taking flight - "a certain butterfly is already on the wing"*
*the famous last words of Vladimir Nabokov.
For my poetics prompt “Words of departure” we are creating a deathbed poem using some famous last words and imagining the scene or creating an imaginary one to match. Nabokov was an avid butterfly collector.
29 thoughts on “A lepidopterist’s last words”
You took my breath away with this one, Laura. Wow! I am especially moved by; “Each daedal design I took to heart. In quiet intimacy of muffled deaths – then immortality. Gorgeous work done. Thank you so much for the glorious prompt. 💜💜
thank you for such glorious feedback Sanna – happy to hear the prompt moved you!
You’re welcome. Yes, very much! 🙂
Well I learn a new word today. Love the creative spin and a different perspective on this quote.
I do recall insects and butterflies pinned, entombed for a wonderful display in the past, like an art. Now I cannot imagine killing them for our pleasure. Really admire that part of your poem – muffled deaths then immortality stanza.
Many thanks Grace, I don’t go out of my way to drop in a new word but daedal was just what I wanted to say!
wonderful stuff Laura. And the clever clever rhyme scheme – I particularly liked the half rhyme in the 3rd – pinned / Entombed. And Nabokov – what a genius. So much to read, so little time.
thanks for noticing the rhymes, Peter, as it is this aspect of poetry I find the most challenging!
Brilliant piece; research pays off. The imagery and wordsmithing were wonderful. I liked “A boy full of summers”, and “the door to the skies’.
many thanks Glenn – I tried to bring Nabokov to life before I let him die 😉
Great tale Laura of the collector’s whims which perhaps will take a life-time of healing for a dream. A fun thing for them and a wonderful read for us.
thank you Hank – Nabokov was a collector possessed by butterflies!
This is beautiful Laura!! I have thought about people who pin insects and tried to form a poem around my images but I think you have done it for me. This is just lovely.
I imagined the obsession 😉 – thank you for your comment
I read the title and wondered…..and then I read. Amazing!
oh yes he was indeed a lepidopterist
So very beautiful and introspective Laura. Relating to the butterflies collected, and the one whose image you project in the leaving time. Wonderful work.
thank you Rob for a very heartening comment
It doesn’t surprise me Nabokov was a butterfly collector. Your poem makes poeming look easy. Excellent pinning of an idea.
thank you Lisa – struggled towards the end with this one but that is apt!
You are most welcome, and thank you again for the wonderful prompt.
This is great. The poem reminds me of how harrowing of an experience it was for me at the time, to create a bug collection as a school project. Favorite line: “Muffled deaths – then immortality.”
thank you – I too have a school memory – taking a moth to the biology teach to ID and he returned it pinned in a box complete with Latin name!
Each time I read your poems there’s the tug of a wonderful line or stanza
“A boy full of summers …”
thank you for taking time even to re-read John
“A boy full of summers” “In quiet intimacy of muffled deaths – then immortality.” two absolutely mesmerizing lines that strike in very different ways.
many thanks for being mesmerized!!
I am truly awe-struck, Laura. Reading your poems is like attending a masterclass on writing poetry. Thank you.
what a truly uplifting comment – I am awed by your generous feedback – many, many thanks
You are most welcome. My heartfelt pleasure.
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