Wednesday 8 December 2010

it happens when...

the butterfly dies slowly.

the first death has always been there, from the beginning, carried within, unknown, as another self.

about the second death, maybe the third one as well, there isn't really much to tell. imagine: one day, almost unawares, you walk past a flower, not very different from others on the same meadow, you brush one petal, you go away. it is only later that you realize that this short moment, perhaps only a few seconds in a butterfly's time, contains the essence of your life, of everything you have longed for. you go back, in vain, you keep searching for something to fill the shape of this death. you are ready to admit it, or you refuse to. it doesn't matter much, in the end.
(there are some who argue: the more such deaths gather within, the richer one's life. hence a scarred meadow would still be preferable, though whoever is to bring clarity in such matters? and most importantly, why aim at clarity after all?)

the fourth death is the one which is really unavoidable. it may seem paradoxical, perhaps it is indeed so. in the end, it doesn't matter much, either. it happens when, instead of the silence which should drape, in gray and self-effacing grace, the loss of each wing, the poem is spoken, pinning the butterfly to itself, forever.

right now, i am the executioner.
(is my picture a lesser crime?)



  1. oh breathless and all memories rushing at one gesture into the emptiness of the lost (last) breath, you open all these deaths inside me at once, the pitiless caress of beauty like the whisper of a butterfly's wing in a dream of fallen butterflies, no longer possible to remember the difference between inside and all of space, between now and never and forever ... these deaths, what must matter and cannot matter, the only thing that really is ... and here...

  2. Your picture is no crime, I think it even impossible, for you have not the least trace, not the slightest shadow of a criminal thought in your mind...

    On the contrary, these contemplations on the many deaths of butterflies and other mortals are among the highest poetic and artistic undertakings we can endeavor, for we will all lose our wings one day... and we don't know when that day will be...

  3. "Wenn die Raupen wüssten, was einmal sein wird, wenn sie erst Schmetterlinge sind, sie würden ganz anders leben: froher, zuversichtlicher und hoffnungsvoller. Der Tod ist nicht das Letzte. Das Leben endet nicht, es wird verändert."

    H. Böll

  4. ...there are some who argue: the more such deaths gather within, the richer one's life

    there are? let them come and argue that with me!

    back in the summer, before the hill at the back of the house was enveloped in snow, we came across the discarded wing of a peacock butterfly (not i suspect so very different from yours). forunately we had a hand lens with us and were able to examine it in some detail. soooo beautiful close up!

  5. first i feel cut by the many sharp word-blades, and identify with the scarred marble. cut and cut again.

    though in pain at the loss of the short moment, and though i may go back to search for it, i also want to lose it so that i can know it, and its (my) essence.

    and then i feel i want to defend the poem, and the poem being spoken - wouldn't the silence be the death and the poem the grace that gives meaning?

  6. small griefs before finality,does it matter at all.

  7. " as a flower blown out by the wind
    goes to rest and cannot be defined
    so the wise man freed from individuality
    goes to rest and cannot be defined.
    gone beyond all images-
    gone beyond the power of words "

    from the Sutta-Nipata

    ... "über die Bilder und Worte hinausgehen": welch ein Reichtum, würde man das Bild des toten Schmetterlings verwandeln als Sinnbild für den Neuanfang! Wie schön ist der Tod, wenn man ihn also als die lastende Vergangenheit ablegen darf und leichten Herzens sich auf den neuen Weg begeben kann. Die Erinnerung bleibt oder bleibt nicht, wie sie möchte... tragen wir das Schöne (und verwandeln wir das drückende Erlebnis in den "hellen Schein")mit uns mit! Ja, tragen wir doch das Schöne mit uns mit! Wer soll uns daran hindern?!
    Das Bild des Schmetterlings... lassen wir ihn wieder leben!
    Viele liebe Umarmungen und Gedanken an Dich, liebe Roxana! Bis bald!

  8. chère magnifique Roxana, tu es tellement gentille.

    thankyou once again for an awesome presentation, a masterpeice to meditate on.
    As usual I find that your work evokes so many nuances of feeling- here with regard to the notions of death.

    and I say notion because this post leads me to consider how we tend to put life into neat little categories that really do not the text states- the first death has always been there right from the beginning-there really is no such thing as death and birth because each birth contains a death whether it be of the self or a physical entity.

    and the death birth image here is so powerful against the stone, it implies the agony to hold onto something that doesnt exist- the birth and death of the butterfly being the same,
    the cruelty attached to this notion of death makes us all executioners.

    Bon what a lovely experience this philosophizing was chère Roxana, I hope it does make some sense,but then this would have to be founded on the beleif that there is some sense in life that we can rationalize over these issues.

    belle journée magique.

  9. There is an emphasis in certain literary traditions to convey the most powerful feeling in just a few words. It is not essential generally but desirable. I think in these lines you have achieved what can take pages for lesser writers.

    You have written with great care and sensitivity, not only to the idea that you had but to the thought of that thought and your self awareness is remarkable. The gathering and ripening of deaths, the gathering and ripening of desires and dying in the end with all these; I think you have achieved some beauty here.

    However, as Manuela so rightly points in her comments about the poem and the silence and the poem gracing the death, it is so important that such charts be hung on mortal walls.

  10. Gosh, what is all this talk about death! so morbid! for heaven's sake, woman! :-)

  11. It is not easy on this earth for fragile things. Butterflies or human emotions. The image is lovely, intriguing and sad, as clipped wings no longer capable of flight always are, and the accompanying text thought provoking. It is difficult to accept the mystery and to be content with silence and not knowing.

  12. Even if I know
    death’s a mysterious unknown
    being alive, there’s no way to experience death
    and once dead
    cannot experience death again
    yet I’m still
    hovering within death
    a hovering in drowning
    Countless nights behind iron-barred windows
    and the graves beneath starlight
    have exposed my nightmares

    Besides a lie
    I own nothing

    Liu Xiabao
    recipient of 2010 Nobel Peace prize
    read the complete poem

  13. I love this idea of how the death has always been there as another self. The butterfly is such a beautiful metaphor for inspiration and transformation of the heart and mind to go from an earth crawl to a flight.and the butterfly effect is also a poignant metaphor, the initial sensitivity of our heart and minds that can have a major impact of our lives-like brushing against the petal of one flower in comparing this to the physical transformation of the weather because of a flap of the butterfly's wings.

    Merci encore Roxana what a beautiful masterpeicne!

  14. remembrance is never a crime ...

    very strong picture, as realistic as it is symbolic

  15. as vrea,cu maini micute alaturi de albele tale,sa asez aceste aripi-petale,sa reinventam Zborul,sa urmarim zmeele

  16. i once knew a young lepidopterist who took joy from the audacious flight of a moth. He sat in the tall grass and rose suddenly knowing that he wanted to possess all that vibrant beauty for himself. Into a glass jar went the moth, sealed with an aurulent cover that glinted in the sun (a wink from the gods, he thought). She, a dazzling young specimen,
    with the grace of a gazelle, was ecstatic in the gushing brightness of the afternoon. Yet in a moment, a lifetime to a quivering insect, she soon felt drunk, first by the boy's kindness, then by the inuring charm of the acetate.

  17. bonsoir Chère Roxana

    "Certains papillons ne vivent qu'une journée et en général il s'agit pour eux du plus beau jour de leur vie...
    Philippe Geluck"

    Fragiles et éphémères comme la vie..
    Et en général, le temps d'apprendre a vivre ,il est déjà trop tard..

    Mais :

    "Si le papillon s'est brûlé à la lumière, la lumière a connu les ailes du papillon et les a aimées."

    Evangile de la colombe

    Celui que tu nous présente ne s'est pas brûlé les ailes,que lui as tu donc fait a ce papillon..:o)
    Je pense qu'il s'est dématérialisé quand il t'a vu ne laissant que ses ailes a tes pieds..
    pour que tu puisse célébrer son éphémère passage sur la planète terre..
    Et rendre hommage a la vie par delà la mort qui nous attend..
    je t'envoie mille douces pensées..
    prend soin de toi et passes un beau weekend..:o)

  18. a stunning image, the bleak simplicity of it, a fragile beauty.

  19. bonjour encore magnifique Roxana ah you know I didn't realise that the text was yours unless otherwise stated, I read too quickly my head is always in the clouds I thought the text was Michael's but that was the other blog!Enchantée also to have met you as an extraordianaire poet of the written word also.

    I love this landscape metaphor of the scarred meadow yes through the scarred meadow the cracks of the wounds the cosmic light seeps through

    ah Roxana you are a beautiful writer of images and words.

    merci magnifique tellement gentille Roxana.

  20. Bonjour ma belle; je ne te connais pas physiquement c'est sur; certes mais j'apprends à te connaitre chaque fois dans ton univers ce que tu as dans ta lumière qui viens directement de ta tête cerveau.Les nacres sont magnifique les plus beaux que j'ai vue du soleil levant ; regarder cette beauté; Je n'ose pas les prendre dans les mains sa glisse une pureté je parle des nacres j'espère que tu comprends ma métaphore. Bonne semaine avec les livres Roxana.

  21. James,

    "Till he hears soft falling footsteps,
    and hears a latchkey churned about,
    this bad bad little boy won't dare
    budge his body, or breathe out.

    Little John the lonely boy,
    mind in a fugue of mice and clocks2,
    hears the woodworm in the closet,
    the grease-moth in the cardboard box.

    Jailbird John the little man
    listens to time that will not stop,
    to the groaning of mosquitoes
    in the droning spinning-top.

    The boy is in his room and dark,
    the door latched shut by mother's key.
    He is the poet, the pure poet
    who sings: "It's time! It's time and me."

    A Childhood Memory (by Juan de Mairena/Antonio Machado), tr. A.Z. Foreman

    Owen, if i were to tease you putting on my Wilde garment :-), i would say: nothing which is human is alien to me, please don't belittle me assuming otherwise.
    just joking!!! and still thinking about your pictures of my adored Wilde's tomb, i couldn't resist this streak of wicked humour. but i also think this could be the opening of a philosophical debate, if only we could have the time...

    and i think you are right, yes, such contemplations have always been a favourite topic in the history of artistic endeavour, i taught a course on Baroque today and 'memento mori' is much on my mind...

  22. Robert, ich wusste gar nicht, dass Boell solche Lebensauffassung hatte, das Zitat erinnert mich eher an Hesse, kennst Du dessen Maerchen 'Piktors Verwandlungen'? eine ganz schoene Parabel des Sich-Ewig-Wandelnden.

    swiss, yes, so wonderful - i can easily understand the passion (obsession) of lepidopterists though i find the idea of catching them appalling.

    dear Manu, "i also want to lose it so that i can know it, and its (my) essence", yes how well i know this longing as well. and also the desire to defend the poem - i feel myself torn between the two, it depends on my mood which direction i favour at a particular moment.
    this post

    for ex., there is the opposite feeling expressed, it's an older one, i don't think you were coming to the Bridge back then - oh, this really feels like we have known each other forever now :-) (and it feels so good)

  23. hello, Bear, welcome to the bridge, yes, that question...

    liebe Renée, wie schoen Du ueber diese - fuer manche, fuer viele, fuer mich auch - bedrueckende Visionen sprichst, ich moechte auch Deine ruhige und edle Wuerde vor dem Todgedanken haben, leider kann ich das nicht, ich habe immer darunter gelitten. und so erweist sich mein Bewusstsein, zumindest in dieser Hinsicht, als ganz abendlaendisch gepraegt, von dem Vergaenglichkeitsgedanken zutiefst gerissen. also ich fuerchte, ich bin noch nicht die weise Person, "the wise man freed from individuality", von der diese Sutra so wunderschoen erzaehlt. danke Dir, wie immer fuer Deine Worte und dieses schoene Geschenk!
    lass Dich ganz lieb umarmen...

    chere crederae,

    oh, again, you enchant and overwhelm me with this profusion of feelings, emotions, deep thoughts about my little post, i don't know how to thank you for all this. i have been very busy recently and couldn't answer to all your comments, but i will catch up with it soon. i love that you could find so much in this image and my text, these hidden spiritual meanings you talk about and really, such an enriching reading reveals more about you and your incredible sensitivity than about the author of this post. and yes, i agree, "the cruelty attached to this notion of death makes us all executioners", when we hold onto a past which is already not real any longer, a mere fanciful recreation of what once was a meaningful 'now'.
    the butterfly metaphor is so fertile, isn't it?

    je suis enchantee que tu aimes aussi mes mots, non seulement mes photos, mais je ne suis pas du tout poete, tu sais, je juste ecris de petits trucs pour accompagner mes images, quand j'en ressens le besoin.

    je t'embrasse de tout coeur!

  24. ffflaneur, how happy i am, each time you come to visit... i miss you.

    Kubla, first i am honoured you like my little text. actually, as much as i love the literary tradition of the restrained and suggestive simplicity, i am naturally inclined to profusion and ornament, a tendency i try to fight but i am not always successful. i am glad i was here, at least you think so.
    the discussion Manuela and you started made me remember an older post, i gave the link in my answer to her, and re-reading i discovered it was related to you as well... back then you were far more skeptical about the role of writing than you seem to be now. perhaps you are as whimsical about this as myself, which is in fact not bad at all, i have always thought that only weaker intellects fear (self)contradiction.

  25. billoo, a black sun full of optimism and light, that is indeed strange :-P

    Stickup Artist, you have this gift of powerful and yet so delicate expressions: "It is difficult to accept the mystery and to be content with silence and not knowing" - how true this is, it could be easily made into an artistic motto as well.

    Michael, thank you for this worth-reading poem, a so touching expression of such an impressive human existence. i love the last two lines, so much.

  26. Cerasela, da o sa reinventam Zborul, cu siguranta, noi.

    thank you Marion, i am glad you liked it.

    such Nabokov-like lines :-) Speak, Memory is full of such passages. i am both fascinated and horrified by such a passion, i cannot understand this desire to possess l'objet du desir, with the price of killing it. and i know you cannot, either. shouldn't love for beauty make us kind? i think it is not the case, very unsettling. doesn't Humbert do the same to Lolita, wants to possess and imprison her as if she were a butterfly?

    Allan, bonjour, je suis tres heureuse que tu aimes mes "nacres" comme tu dis, oui je comprends ta metaphore et ton emotion me touche beaucoup... je t'embrasse de tout coeur et j'espere que tout va bien pour toi...

  27. chere Clo, excuse-moi, ton message s'etait perdu mais j'ai pu le recuperer et le reposter, je ne sais pas ce qui s'est passe. quelles belles citations! merci de tout coeur, et soit tranquille, non je n'ai bien sur pas tue le pauvre papillon, disons que oui, le vent a depose ces tristes tresors a mes pieds...
    je t'embrasse et te souhaite une belle semaine pleine de joie!