6 Poems About Butterflies

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Recently, I took a morning walk in the woods.  As I wandered down the wooded path, small white butterflies leapt up from the tall grass and fluttered around my legs. The movement of these butterflies really captured my attention. When one landed on the edge of a fern, I stopped to watch him for a moment before he jumped up and flew away.

I will have to admit I have developed a little bit of an obsession with butterflies lately.  Over the past month, I have written about the Folklore of Butterflies, I have attempted some butterfly identification in Eastern Tiger Swallowtail in Haiku, and earlier this week I wrote about the Silver-bordered Fritillary and a butterfly’s temperature regulation strategies.

I even tried my hand at writing a haiku about Monarchs in Honeysuckle and the Pollinator Garden.  Well, it turns out the Monarch in that haiku was actually the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.  So with some help from fellow blogger and poet Barbara from Solitary4Tomorrow that haiku was tweaked to this:

A butterfly takes off
From a breeze in the honeysuckle
Oh no, not a Monarch

This spring has been such a wonderful time for me to engage with the butterflies.  I have learned so much about them and they have become a muse for my writing and research. As I reflected on my emerging relationship with these wonderful insects, I began to wonder how butterflies may have influenced the writing, and more specifically the poetry, of others. This question became a call to action and I headed into the library to find other poems written about the butterfly.


3 Haikus About Butterflies

With every gust
The butterfly finds a new home
On the willow
     Basho quoted in Haiku Enlightenment
Even the butterfly--
Voiceless
Buddhist service
     Chiyo-ni quoted in Haiku Enlightenment
A light heart
Floating through this world . . . 
A pale blue butterfly
     Issa quoted in Haiku Enlightenment
Photo by Ju00c9SHOOTS on Pexels.com

2 Long Form Poems About Butterflies

“To a Butterfly” by William Wordsworth

Oh! pleasant, pleasant were the days,
  The time, when in our childish plays
  My sister Emmeline and I
  Together chased the Butterfly!
  A very hunter did I rush
  Upon the prey:—with leaps and springs
  I follow’d on from brake to bush;
  But She, God love her! feared to brush
  The dust from off its wings.
     Read the complete poem and analysis at Poem Analysis

“Two Butterflies Went Out at Noon” by Emily Dickinson

Two butterflies went out at noon
And waltzed above a stream,
Then stepped straight through the firmament
And rested on a beam
     Read the complete poem and further analysis at Poem Analysis

There must be hundreds of more poems out there that try to capture the beauty and mystery of these insects. I know I am just scratching the surface of butterfly inspiration, and will have to admit I am partial to the haiku’s format because it encourages us to distill and translate a specific moment in time.  The haiku ask us what is the essence of this moment.  Rosenstock does a great job of explaining this concept in Haiku Enlightenment by writing:

“Haiku — and to a certain extent the nature-poetry of the Irish, the Chinese, the Inuit and the literature of tribal peoples — roots us in a meaningful existence, reminding us of the fragile interdependence of all living things and the illusory nature of matter, as seasons turn, as vapor changes to water, to ice.” 

The process of writing haiku is something that encourages me to connect to nature.  It asks me to let go of my assumptions and projections and see what is before me.  It is a strategy I use for deeper nature connection.  With that said, writing haiku is a skill that I need to develop. It is amazing how much there is to learn about writing so few syllables. 

Photo by Skyler Ewing on Pexels.com

Do you have a favorite butterfly poem?. Share your favorite below in the comments.


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18 thoughts on “6 Poems About Butterflies

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  1. Thanks for collecting these various poems — and I can see how butterflies are great inspiration for writing them. And you make a good point about haiku. Its shortness can say volumes — sometimes more than long poems. And haiku can reflect the “here now/gone in a second” moments when we see butterflies.

    1. Hi Dave, Thanks for your comment! I really appreciate the brevity of the haiku and what a challenge it can be to get to that spot in writing.

  2. I have become a little obsessed with them too recently. I only ever saw 2 types at the start of the month and now I have seen a few different ones. I saw a blue one today. I got some good photos so will post them soon. I really need to get them off my phone and onto the computer!

    People must look at me and think “what on earth is she up to” as I spend about 10 minutes or more chasing them for a good photo! Good exercise and fun. I also spend hours looking at the plants and tree leaves for insects and snails and such.

    I used to write poetry years ago. Maybe I should pick up a pen again and do some Haiku!

    1. Hi Ananka, I am looking forward to seeing what you have found. And trying haiku can be fun. It can be fun to write a haiku related to the pictures take. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Loved these poems-especially the haikus. Reminds me of my first grade classroom ( I’m now retired) where we raised Monarchs. We took them out to the organic garden and waved to them as we released them “to Mexico”, and then wrote to our local governmental wildlife agencies to convince them to help Monarchs.

    1. What a great story! Did anything ever happen as a result of your letters? It would be cool to hear if the local agencies listened to the kids. Thanks for the comment. Be well!

      1. Sadly, the agencies did not listen. However, we did convince our school to plant milkweed in free spaces, so that got at least the whole school interested.
        -Julie

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