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Butterfly by Alfred Noyes (16th September, 1880 – 28th June, 1958)

Sun–child, as you watched the rain
Beat the pane,
Saw the garden of your dreams
Where the clove carnation grows
And the rose
Veiled with shimmering shades and gleams,
Mirrored colours, mystic gleams,
Fairy dreams,
Drifting in your radiant eyes
Half in earnest asked, that day,
Half in play,
Where were all the butterflies?

Where were all the butterflies
When the skies
Clouded and their bowers of clover
Bowed beneath the golden shower?
Every flower
Shook and the rose was brimming over.

Ah, the dog–rose trembling over
Thyme and clover,
How it glitters in the sun,
Now the hare–bells lift again
Bright with rain
After all the showers are done!

See, when all the showers are done,
How the sun
Softly smiling o’er the scene
Bids the white wings come and go
To and fro
Through the maze of gold and green.

Magic webs of gold and green
Rainbow sheen
Mesh the maze of flower and fern,
Cuckoo–grass and meadow–sweet,
And the wheat
Where the crimson poppies burn.

Ay; and where the poppies burn,
They return
All across the dreamy downs,
Little wings that flutter and beat
O’er the sweet
Bluffs the purple clover crowns.

Where the fairy clover crowns
Dreamy downs,
And amidst the golden grass
Buttercups and daisies blow
To and fro
When the shadowy billows pass;

Time has watched them pause and pass
Where Love was;
Ah, what fairy butterflies,
Little wild incarnate blisses,
Coloured kisses,
Floating under azure skies!

Under those eternal skies
See, they rise:
Mottled wings of moony sheen,
Wings in whitest star–shine dipped,
Orange tipped,
Eyed with black and veined with green.

They were fairies plumed with green
Rainbow-sheen
Ere Time bade their host begone
From that palace built of roses
Which still dozes
In the greenwood all alone.

In the greenwood all alone
And unknown:
Now they roam these mortal dells
Wondering where that happy glade is,
Painted Ladies,
Admirals, and Tortoise-shells,

O, Fritillaries, Admirals,
Tortoise–shells;
You, like fragments of the skies
Fringed with Autumn’s richest hues,
Dainty blues
Patterned with mosaic dyes;
Oh, and you whose peacock dyes
Gleam with eyes;
You, whose wings of burnished copper
Burn upon the sunburnt brae
Where all day
Whirrs the hot and grey grasshopper;

While the grey grasshopper whirrs
In the furze,
You that with your sulphur wings
Melt into the gold perfume
Of the broom
Where the linnet sits and sings;

You that, as a poet sings,
On your wings
Image forth the dreams of earth,
Quickening them in form and hue
To the new
Glory of a brighter birth;

You that bring to a brighter birth
Dust and earth,
Rapt to glory on your wings,
All transfigured in the white
Living light
Shed from out the soul of things;

Heralds of the soul of things,
You whose wings
Carry heaven through every glade;
Thus transfigured from the petals
Death unsettles,
Little souls of leaf and blade;

You that mimic bud and blade,
Light and shade;
Tinted souls of leaf and stone,
Flower and sunny bank of sand,
Fairyland
Calls her children to their own;
Calls them back into their own
Great unknown;
Where the harmonies they cull
On their wings are made complete
As they beat
Through the Gate called Beautiful.

Painting by Vincent van GoghvanGogh

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