poetry and prose about place

more butterfly spaces

with 6 comments

On our trip to Ontario, I did a little chasing of butterflies.  I was trying for a photo so I could identifyanother butterfly for my ‘life list’.  So far I have collected two:  ‘Monarch’ and ‘Viceroy’!

The field I focussed on had a lively population of yellow butterflies, and I thought it would be easy to catch one in a photograph.  I was wrong!

If I stood still and waited for them to come to me, they would eventually flutter nearby but be gone by the time I had the camera in focus.  If I chased after them… well that was just silly.

Eventually I did capture an image as one butterfly settled for a second on the purple head of a Red Clover (Trifolium pratense L.).

Once I had my photo, I could identify the new member of my ‘collection’ – a Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice).  Its distinguishing characteristics are a double spot on the underside of the hindwing and a submarginal row of dark spots.  According to my source, the Clouded Sulphur is similar to the Pink-edged Sulphur (Colias interior) but the Pink-edged Sulphurhas a single spot on the underwing and no row of dark spots.

The experience of chasing this butterfly reminded me of a study I used to play on the piano when I was younger.  The piece was by Chopin, the well-named ‘Butterfly Etude’.  It was a hard piece (although I was playing an ‘easy’ version), made up of  sets of of detached and un-detached octaves, played in rapid staccato.  At the time I thought of it as just another study in agony, but now I realise how aptly it represents the inelegant, bouncy flight of the butterfly!  


étude opus 25, no. 9 – Chopin


wrist staccato

octave stretches



wings a-flutter

closed and open

cloud to clover

bouncy bright


flirt and quiver

tip and stumble

clouded sulphur



© Jane Tims    2011

Written by jane tims

October 9, 2011 at 7:19 am

6 Responses

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  1. So this is what you were up to, skipping through the field, holding your camera up to your eye (for what seemed hours).. I like how the words of your poem give it a “skittyish” feel, like the butterfly you were going after to photograph.



    October 10, 2011 at 9:18 am

  2. Butterflight….loved that!



    October 10, 2011 at 7:28 am

  3. Love your sketch! – Heather



    October 9, 2011 at 9:13 am

    • Thanks!!!! I put all my sketches from the blog in a ‘gallery of pencil sketches’, so I can display them all at once. The gallery is in the pages section, in the same section as ‘about’. Jane


      jane tims

      October 9, 2011 at 12:18 pm

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