The Ballade Of Butterflies

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Because we never build a nest
And no one of us ever sings,
We are the butt of every jest
That strutting loud-mouthed robin flings.
Unless the field with laughter rings
And we are meek in our replies
His claws and beak to bear he brings;
Have pity on all butterflies!

Since we are of no home possessed,
And have no joy in courts and kings,
And love on working-days to rest,
The name of ‘Idlers’ to us clings.
On all our gypsy travellings
They follow us with jeering cries.
From every rose a spider springs;
Have pity on all butterflies!

A little thing is our request-
Some peace from nets of sticks and strings,
An hour to feel the sunlight’s zest,
To ‘scape the deadly bee that stings.
From hostile fortune’s bolts and slings
Give us release ere Summer dies-
We dread the Winter’s threatenings;
Have pity on all butterflies!
L’ENVOI
Great Pan, kind lord of living things,
Look on us now with friendly eyes.
We pray to you on trembling wings,
Have pity on all butterflies!

 

– Joyce Kilmer

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