The Drowned Butterfly by Myra Morris

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Look! Here upon the sand a lovely thing,
Lying among the sea-shells, foam-enlaced --
A drenched white butterfly,
Each silken wing,
Once iridescent, ebon-chased,
Broken and brushed
With the wild sea,
Its little feathered body crushed

O lovely thing! Poor fragile butterfly!
How came it so to die,
This shining jewel of a summer's day?
Perhaps it saw the low-hung, quivering spray,
White as old almond-bloom
Above the sea;
And winged far out, its flight a rhapsody,
Unto the swift, sharp doom
Of the tide's swirling race,
Looking to find some strange, new garden there,
Pale-blossomed, fair,
With perfumed flowers
Above the towers
Of crystal and of chrysoprase!
And now where all the shells are spread
Like petal-drifts -- look! it lies dead!

I cannot bear to think this hot sweet day,
Of that short life, shorter than hours of spring.
Here for one shining flash, then swept away --
O beautiful, poor thing!....
Yet what of me!
Am I not as some restless butterfly,
Questing the joys of life on radiant wing,
Knowing the while (O rebel I!)
That even as I soar, unbounded, high,
Just out beyond there sounds forebodingly,
The murmur of death's dark relentless sea?

First published in The Bulletin, 19 January 1928

Author reference sites: AustlitAustralian Dictionary of Biography

See also.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on January 19, 2014 8:22 AM.

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