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Butterfly Ballet
Richard Greene

Looking out the window
almost any time of day
I see tiger swallowtails in our garden,
and, to let them know I’m glad to see them,
I sometimes say,
in that hospitable Spanish way,
“Está en su casa”,
“You are in your house”.
These are macho mariposas,
living up to their feral name,
big yellow butterflies
a hand’s breadth wide
with black stripes on their wings.
When I approach they don’t fly away,
they pay me no heed,
just keep sipping nectar
as if to say
“You think this is your garden?”,
imbibing as tranquilly
as patrons at a soda fountain,
but suddenly a pair
will pirouette around each other
in helical dance
as if caught up in a whirlwind,
or romance.


© by Richard Greene.
Used with the author's permission.


Richard Greene began writing poetry in the 8th grade, inspired by the opening lines of Longfellow's “Evangeline”—“This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks / Bearded in moss and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight"—which he was required to read in class. In college, after a classmate deemed Richard’s rhyming poem “trite,” he stopped writing until, a couple of years later, a class with Henry Rago, subsequently editor of Poetry magazine, inspired him to resume his efforts. But poetry fell by the wayside for almost forty years as a busy career in international development consumed his life. As retirement approached, however, Richard’s dedication to poetry returned; he has since published three chapbooks: The Broken Guitar: Poems of War; Becoming Old: Poems of Aging; Painting with Words: Landscapes in Verse; and one full -length collection, To Talk of Many Things: Selected Poems. Richard, who lives in Nyack, New York, shares a "poem of the week" with anyone interested; get on his mailing list by requesting it at



Post New Comment:
I like the comparison to 'patrons at a soda fountain'; it helps to undermine all business of the Land Registry Office.
Posted 06/06/2015 05:52 AM
Beautiful, I would love to visit his garden.
Posted 06/06/2015 05:37 AM

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