#NationalInsectWeek 21st-27th June. Friday – Butterflies and Moths. Anybody written poems about butterflies and moths? Artworks/photos welcome too. References to poems/artwork other than your own I will show as links in the post, unless the referenced author welcomes my use of their work. Here are the prompts for the week: Monday – Beetles, Tuesday – Cockroaches, Wednesday – Flies, Thursday – Mayflies, Friday – Butterflies, Saturday – Ant, Bee and Wasp, Sunday – Dragonflies

Friday – Butterflies and Moths

insect week

butterfly in amber


Are words trapped in books?
Not able to breathe free
Like butterflies in amber

Burnt sienna-gold beauty
Like verses strung together
Are words trapped in books?

Calligraphy black on white
Glinting in the light
Like butterflies in amber

An insect and words glued in woe
Are poems written in blood?
Are words trapped in books?

Seeping with anger, sadness
Poetry written,tears of grief struck
Like butterflies in amber

Or a balm of sweet memories
A cathartic torrent of words
Are words trapped in books?
Like butterflies in amber.

-Leela Soma

monarch butterfly
delivering a message
from the great unknown

-Richard Bailly

Island Sonnets 1: Rarities

The Slender Scotch Burnet Moth clings on
to this yellow bloom, this basalt cliff:
the fragile edge of a fragmentary life
confined to islands. Under the melting sun
summer’s haze shimmers over the sea.
There’s a threat of cloud in the west. The wind spills
a scent of gorse flowers over the folded hills.
This warm day’s a welcome rarity.

There’s so much peace in my heart it’s almost pain.
I’m bracing myself to withstand the next surprise,
which isn’t coming. Ever. Only summer lies
in the days ahead. I’m facing the curious, strange,
singular thought that it may all be over and done.
I cling to that fragile edge and bask in the sun.

-Yvonne Marjot

new dawn
a butterfly drifts through
the triumphal arch
(from the Nick Virgilio Writer’s House – Haiku In Action 2021)
-John Hawkhead

Last Night I Became an Emperor Moth

I rode through the liquid night,
as a melon-slice moon crested a bank of cloud.
Part of the hush and curve of the universe;
Pleiades above me a diamond cluster ring.
Clothed in starlight, wings powdered,
furry belly glossy and plump.

Left the moor for a jaunt to the seaside,
over towns with flickering lights and strange smells.
Saw the sea corrugated by waves,
tang of salt quickening my senses.
Shimmied and played chase with the ladies,
rested with them on marram grass.

Birdsong ushered in the return of the sun;
drowsy, went home to sleep in the heather.
There to wait for my lover; my musk strong,
it will draw him from miles. He will come,
wings taut with blood. Antennae fresh as ferns.
Owl eyes pulsing with life like coals.

Red Admiral in November

Tail-end of a storm squalled over
the Atlantic – leaves and plastics
hurled over yard and path
in a mad, improvised mosaic.

Then I see it, the slight movement
of a blackened leaf shivering
on top of a pebble right under
the next step of my feet.

Gently lift him on his flint –
he opens his wings out wide
as if to the warmth of my touch,
exotic in his gaudy tapestry.

Carefully place him on a nettle stem –
he climbs, fumbling and entangled
towards the leaves, lumbering his embroidery,
summer aerobatics a memory.

I lumber, fumble back into the darkening cocoon
of my shuttered house, summer a memory.

Cabbage White

In his robe of sun he cartwheels
over autumn weeds –
a last-fling pale ballerina
among the Caravaggio opulence
of October
and its red-haired children.

This petal-light cabbage white
flits among heady colours
distilled by autumn:
root beer, cider, burgundy, rosé.
He goes there, there, there –
from ragwort to herb robert,
catsear to hawkbit.

November brings brown,
sours ripe and fruity scents,
pungent with leaf mould and fungi.
A watery sun rises low;
branches like swipes of ink
on an eau-de-nil sky;
his lifeless body blowing
in the wind with the leaves.

Doorway . . .

. . . on the roadside:
fading burgundy frame,
scored ivory windows,
set in solid blocks
of local grey stone.

Sly fingers of ivy
creep darkly over one side,
like a face needing a haircut,
steal into gaps between timber
and stone, squeeze through
quiet breaches in dry wood.

For a second a butterfly
prints red and black on it,
folds its wings as in prayer,
opens out again, cutting
a butterfly shape in the air.

Behind the door, a shady space
where flowers don’t grow.

-Annest Gwilym(from her collection What The Owl Taught Me, 2020)

(Previously published in:

Cabbage White – Poetry Space
Doorway . . . – The Cannon’s Mouth
Last Night I Became an Emperor Moth – winner of firstwriter.com’s Fifteenth International Poetry Competition 2016/17.
Red Admiral in November – Reach Poetry)

Christina butterfly bleached butterfly

-Christina Chin


ChristinaChin_silk portière_Cantos2021 moth


moth wings
raising the silk portière
summer breeze

-Christina Chin 

Debbie Strange Dying Moth

-Dying Moth by Debbie Strange


A Lime Hawk Moth M W

-M. W. Bewick

bronwen griffiths moth hailkubronwen griffiths moth hailku

Caterpillar Summer

One summer we kept caterpillars – nothing special, the green ones that attack cabbages. Maybe I got sick of killing them, the green mush between my finger tips. Maybe I thought it would be educational. We kept them in a propagator, fed them cabbage leaves, made sure there was water in there. Not many survived. A lot were attacked by some predator that ate them from the inside. The smell of old cabbage was vile. We persevered.

Finally we had a few chrysalises. We took the clear plastic lid off the propagator, and left the base tray open in the outside toilet over the winter. We forgot about them.

One spring morning, I went out to feed the cat, and opened the door of the outside loo. There were the butterflies, finally hatched – white-winged and fluttering. I called the kids and we admired them, and then let them fly away – to lay more eggs on more cabbages, I guess. To have their moment in the sunshine.

souls soar in spring
butterflies soak up the sun
green leaves unfurling

-Sarah Connor

A Turnip Moth in Fever

-Paul Brookes (First published in The Insect Sonnets, Fevers of The Mind)

Bios and Links

-Annest Gwilym

Author of two books of poetry: Surfacing (2018) and What the Owl Taught Me (2020), both published by Lapwing Poetry. Annest has been published in many literary journals, both online and in print, and in anthologies. She has been placed in several writing competitions, winning one. She lives on the coast of north west Wales with her rescue dog. Twitter: @AnnestGwilym

-M.W. Bewick

is a writer and co-founder of the small indie publisher Dunlin Press. He grew up on the edge of the Lake District, lives in Wivenhoe, Essex. He is regularly published in poetry journals, also works as a journalist and sometimes lectures in creative writing. His second collection of poetry, Pomes Flixus, is available at https://dunlinpress.bigcartel.com/

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