People are like butterflies
but in reverse. Born a brilliant
radiant thing, they shrivel
in repose. Behind the scenes
of balms and rouge and
cosmetic fixes (small procedures,
they’ll say for sure) the steady death
of neural lights continues,
evermore, as the shell
collapses into itself, caught
in the throes of its own
dying wind.

If there is a saving grace
it’s that the human race
will continue on past the dying
setting sun of a single human soul,
a candle burned, a song
that has been sung. Look into
a child’s face and see in them
redeeming grace. Not to the God
(if God there is) who meted out
the human fate. Not to the skies
who preside above the dying
embers, a darkening shroud.
Not to the ones who bore new life
to free themselves
from mortality.

Poet’s Notes on “Like Butterflies”

I thought I would write a bit about human mortality today, as it’s something all people have to face up throughout their lives. In using a bit of a detached, universal voice, I’m trying to bring something new to the conversation surrounding life and death that I’m not sure I’ve heard before. Hopefully, it provides you something to mull over throughout your day. I very much hope you’ve enjoyed the poem and would love to hear what you think about it!

The first few lines, from which I’ve derived the title, actually cropped up in my new work-in-progress, which for now lies under the working title Devil’s Advocate. I’ll be talking more about that work-in-progress in a future post, so you can look out for that if you’re interested in learning what I’ve been up to in my writing life.

If you enjoyed this poem, you may also enjoy my poem “Coming Home to You,” which deals with faith, or my poem “Young People,” dealing with, well, young people.

If you love my writing in general, my first poetry and short story collection Metamorphosis is available on Amazon for $0.99! That’s an affiliate link, so I earn a small commission if you choose to purchase through it. You can also support Voyage of the Mind on Ko-fi. As always, thank you so much for reading!

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