Butterfly Boy

I wrote this poem as a way of retelling the Taoist philosopher Zhuangzi’s famous story, The Dream of the Butterfly. Discussions of oneness, awareness and transformation have been inspired by the story’s telling and retelling over the 2300 years since Zhuangzi wrote his insights into human nature and the nature of the cosmos.

 

Butterfly Boy 

In the warmth of the sun,

In the cool of the breeze,
a boy went to sleep
in the shade of the trees
and dreamt,
he was a butterfly.
With silken wings
of colours bright,
He swooped and soared,
both left and right.
No happier creature
ever took flight.
Then he alighted
on a leaf,
And the boy
awakened
from his deep, deep sleep.
My wings are limbs
I cannot fly.
I am a boy dreaming 
I was a butterfly.
But then his heart 
it leapt for joy,
Perhaps he was a butterfly,
dreaming
he was a boy.

 

Who am I? How do we define ourselves?  So often we are defined by our relationship with others; Roman’s wife, Moriah’s mother, Lorna’s daughter. We identify with our work: Morgan the storyteller, musician or writer, or our socio-cultural identity: Australian, global citizen, woman, feminist. We are like the elephant in the Indian story ‘The 6 blind Men and the Elephant’, who each man describes differently, depending on what part he has touched.  I am all and none of the above, depending on the context I am defining myself in. As to being ascribed an identity by others, that is simply for the describer’s convenience. Sometimes I feel like the broadest epithet is the most appropriate for me. I am a human being. But there have been times when I don’t feel human. There have been times when I don’t feel…
We believe we can be anything, everything, something, or nothing. The fact that these feelings can co-exist is testament to the mutable nature of our identity.
The Boy and the Butterfly is a comfort to me in the paradoxical world of constant change. A reminder that all things pass, and in the words of the Greek Philosopher Heraclitus, (544 – 483 BCE) No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man. 

 

 

Butterfly

 

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Library Books Are Our Friends

Library Books are our Friends 
Do not use a library book to make a table stable,
Do not use a library book to build the tower of Babel.
Do not use a library book for throwing at a dog,
They prefer a stick or small wooden log.
Do not use a library book to start a big bonfire,
Do not use a library book to stand on something higher,
Do not use a library book to squash a bug or fly,
A heavy crystal vase is a better way to die.
Do not use a library book to shelter from the rain,
Do not use a library book to help unblock a drain,
Do not use a library book for plugging up a hole,
Do not use a library book to kick a winning goal.
Do not smear the words
of your library book with jam.
Do not spill your drink on it
Or fill it up with sand.
Do not rip out its pages,
Do not deface its cover,
Do not bend its spine back,
Or turn the corners over.
Please do read a library book
You can borrow it, again and again.
The house of stories belongs to all,
Library books are our friends.
©morgan schatz blackrose 2011