Thursday 23 March 2017

Yet another poem about a butterfly - by the Norwegian poet Inger Elisabeth Hansen


Chequered Blue, you who were found where quietness reigned,
you who on the quiet were expelled by land policies,
you mirrored-blue resident of granite down by Iddefjord, on the steep slope
in at the edge and the outermost, expelled from slopes of south-facing rock
by land policies, common-sense coloured, camouflaged in the rock-face brown,
camouflaged in the mirrored-blue, almost without a colour to your name,
easily overlooked, not designed to shelter in a rose, bashful lover of shore-violets in May,
expelled from your habitat

Now that’s you’re included on the red list,
now that your copyright’s expiring,
let me borrow you, I want to borrow you, Chequered Blue, Scolitantides Orion, now that
you are brought out and illuminated on your way out,
now that you are transilluminated by your own disappearance like a star long since
extinct, now that you have your fifteen minutes of fame,
let me borrow you

Let me use you as a vessel,
let me give you an old captain,
one who can navigate, one you can sail you all the way to Orion, an old captain who will
not leave his ship while still the boat sails along,
while still the heartbeat is strong, one who can navigate for those in need to reach Orion

But you are the Chequered Blue,
you prefer to fly low, thrive when the granite rises like wings from the sea,
you thrive when sun-warm, south-facing slopes of rock rise on the horizon,
Scolitantides Orion, coloured like the horizon with dark wing-fringes,
you are not destined skywards, you are not destined for Orion,
you are to be placed under special protection
and assigned a habitat among cabins and cottages down by the sea

Did I use the Chequered Blue as a vessel for my longing?
Was it merely my longing that needed a captain?
A captain who can navigate the Chequered Blue to Orion? What should it be doing there?

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