I Know Why They Stay

04-13 Butterfly

On the bench I sit, in the middle of the park,

frozen in time, while the world bustles around me.

I watch life happen, but don’t dare take part

for I know what many others can’t see.

I spy a young girl, no older than seven or eight,

bouncing toward her weary mother.

She squeals, “good things come to those who wait!”

I see the butterfly perched on her outstretched finger.

As the girl nears the woman sitting beside me,

The butterfly’s damaged wings capture my attention.

“She won’t fly. Doesn’t she realize there’s a world to see?”

Her brow now furrowed, she poses the question.

The mother sets an open magazine upon her lap,

“The butterfly must feel at home on the finger of my sweet girl,”

“Perhaps she’s tired, so she’s decided to take a little nap?”

The response, obvious shelter from the ways of the world.

I avert my gaze, should it betray knowledge of the disappointing truth,

I’m not a butterfly expert, but I know exactly why they stay:

It matters not whether they rest or move,

Death befalls them either way.


Here’s where I share inspiration for my poetry.  This will be short!  The thought occurred to me that sometimes no matter what I do, the outcome is the same, so why bother.  (I know, that is isn’t very hopeful of me.)  Then, I decided I wanted to write a story poem with that theme.  The butterfly was simply the captured creature of opportunity, as I had a photo that I’d taken a couple years ago during a visit to Shenandoah.

33 thoughts on “I Know Why They Stay

  1. Timothy Price April 13, 2015 / 6:16 AM

    All is fair in poetry and photography! Beautiful on both counts.

    • jannatwrites April 15, 2015 / 9:25 PM

      Thanks, Timothy! I appreciate you stopping by 🙂

  2. Nurse Kelly April 13, 2015 / 6:18 AM

    Beautiful and thought-provoking words on a reality that’s hard to accept.

    • jannatwrites April 15, 2015 / 9:26 PM

      Thanks, Nurse Kelly. It would be nice if our actions always effected change, but they don’t 🙂

  3. nrhatch April 13, 2015 / 8:07 AM

    Even with years of practice, it’s hard to get grounded when a tidal wave of negativity washes over us . . . but it’s worth it.

    After all, our happiness is at stake.

    • jannatwrites April 15, 2015 / 9:27 PM

      Sometimes it feels like a losing battle, but somewhere deep down, I know that giving up isn’t the best option 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Nancy!

  4. the dune mouse April 13, 2015 / 9:26 AM

    stunning and profound Janna- the harshness of reality amidst the beauty!

  5. Kathy Combs (@Kathy29156) April 13, 2015 / 10:02 AM

    Beautifully written…reality can be such a slap in the face. So glad the mother preserved the wonder and joy of the moment. I love the way you write.

    • jannatwrites April 15, 2015 / 9:27 PM

      The child will find out soon enough that the ideal world isn’t really what she thought it to be. Thanks so much for reading, Kathy 🙂

  6. suzicate April 13, 2015 / 10:34 AM

    It’s difficult to be positive when we feel defeated. However, if we determine we will persevere and be happy regardless, there’s a wonderful life right in front (within) us. Beautifully written, Janna.

    • jannatwrites April 15, 2015 / 9:28 PM

      I think many of us have moments when we feel we can’t persevere. Sometimes with rest, we find we can 🙂 Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, Suzicate!

  7. Debbie April 13, 2015 / 11:20 AM

    The brevity of nature’s beautiful creatures is easy to be sad over, Janna. I suppose, in a perfect world, these stunning butterflies would live forever. I wonder if they will one day??

    • jannatwrites April 15, 2015 / 9:29 PM

      It seems like they should survive longer, Debbie! I love butterflies 🙂

  8. Gene Brode, Jr. April 13, 2015 / 2:38 PM

    Boy do I understand that mindset sometimes! It’s great great that you can turn that around and make into art–nice job!

    • jannatwrites April 15, 2015 / 9:30 PM

      Thanks for reading and sharing your comment, Gene! It is a bit frustrating when it seems whatever will happen will happen, but eventually I snap out of it and realize there is a bigger picture that I may not see.

  9. Widdershins April 13, 2015 / 5:41 PM

    Perhaps the butterfly chose that young girl, and that moment, in order to die as well as it could.

    • jannatwrites April 15, 2015 / 9:32 PM

      Maybe that is the case, Widdershins… if the end result cannot be avoided, may as well be under chosen circumstances 🙂

  10. pattisj April 13, 2015 / 8:19 PM

    That hits a very deep place. How fragile the butterfly–yet consider how far a Monarch migrates. He is the wind beneath our wings.

    • jannatwrites April 15, 2015 / 9:36 PM

      Butterflies are fragile, but somehow they continue to survive. Thanks for reading, Patti 🙂

  11. EagleAye April 14, 2015 / 8:36 PM

    I think the girl is at the age where she should start know. I think I would tell her. There’s a a cycle to life. Death is not an end, it’s merely a change to something else. A butterfly is wonderful symbol of change. It’s a good place to start. Beautiful poem as always, Janna.

    • jannatwrites April 15, 2015 / 9:37 PM

      Thanks for reading, Eagle Aye! I hadn’t thought about the metamorphosis of the butterfly, but yes, it is a great symbol of the change that is life.

  12. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) April 16, 2015 / 2:11 AM

    The life of the butterfly is short in that gown.. the little girl will soon learn about that.. there is something about the parallel to the girl as well.. death come to everyone.

    • jannatwrites April 19, 2015 / 10:44 PM

      True, Bjorn… death is a fact of life we will all encounter at some point.

  13. agjorgenson April 16, 2015 / 6:15 PM

    It certainly raises the question of when is it appropriate to move children to the next level of acquaintance with life. It seems to be an ongoing task, and then at some point, the task is theirs to awaken their parents to bits that are passing them by!

    • jannatwrites April 19, 2015 / 10:46 PM

      Yes, we must time when we reveal certain aspects of life and death. I like your note about the children awakening parents… kids do have a way of making us see things a bit differently.

    • jannatwrites April 19, 2015 / 10:46 PM

      Thanks so much for stopping by, TCE 🙂

  14. GodGirl April 19, 2015 / 3:02 PM

    This is poignant, and its dark conclusion is startling and thought-provoking. I guess to me it begs the question of whether we bother to live well, when all die anyway. Everyone leaves a legacy of some sort. I keep asking God to help me make mine a good one – one that leads people into an eternity with Christ. That’s my only hope.

    • jannatwrites April 19, 2015 / 10:50 PM

      I do think we owe it to God and our fellow man to make a difference. Your comment about legacy is so true. I think we all want to be remembered in a good way, for making this world a better place while we were here.

  15. pattyabr May 25, 2015 / 8:27 AM

    what a lovely poem. I am sorry I’ve been out of it for a while. Love butterfiles.

    • jannatwrites July 2, 2015 / 9:15 PM

      Thanks for reading, Patty! I’ve not been online as much as I used to. I hope to get more writing time at some point. Don’t know when, though. Hope you are doing well.

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