The Clockwork Butterfly

When I was a child, and my dreams were of gold
I always believed everything I was told,
My faith was implicit, my innocence pure
And magic existed, of that I was sure.
My old uncle Arthur was always in bed
His twinkling eyes sunken into his head,
He told me his stories of dragons and elves
That lived in the books on his library shelves.

On the table that stood at the foot of his bed
Was an old leather box colored purple and red,
And the lid was embroidered in threads of maroon
With the soft shining face of the man in the moon.
I asked him to show me what rested inside
And he said ‘ Press the button, and open it wide!’,
Then up from the box, with a deep whirring sigh
Rose a magic mechanical gold butterfly.

It fluttered its wings as it gently spun round
Its beauty serene in the absence of sound,
And I was entranced by its magical flight
As it bathed in the flame of the candle’s soft light.
As I lay in my bed with my head in a dream
I still could imagine the butterfly’s gleam,
So I made up my mind to go back the next day
To watch the gold butterfly flutter and play.

But when I got there, the old house was in gloom
My old uncle Arthur was gone from his room,
And even though mother had tried to explain
I never did see uncle Arthur again.
That night I slept soundly, in dreams of delight
At the dawn I awoke to the morning’s first light,
And there on my desk, by the side of my bed
Was an old leather box colored purple and red…

 

The Shaman

In a corner of forever, on the shores of once before
there’s a house that’s built with shadows, with an ever open door,
and inside, a silent Shaman carves his driftwood statuettes
with no though about tomorrow, for the sun there rarely sets,
though his dreams cast many images that wander through his eyes
he feels only slight emotion, and he never feels surprise,
and sometimes as the hours unwind, he gets up from the ground
then walks outside to feel a breeze that wanders without sound.

As his footsteps touch the evening’s end, he contemplates the shore
with the patience of contentment, he could wish for nothing more
than he wanders through his chapters with the gift of second sight
as he feels the pages turning to the early morning’s light,
then the Shaman in his wisdom counts the blessings that he knows
from the seashells of forever to his far off mountain snows,
He feels such a sense of freedom as he looks up into space,
And it shines with such perfection from the eyes within his face.

The Shaman walks back slowly, trailing scattered silver songs
for he knows that he is happy, and he knows that he belongs
to the corner of forever in the land of once before
as he chuckles at the morning sun sprites dancing on the shore,
then he steps inside his heaven, where he starts to carve again
and he gives each statuette a mouth, so that they can explain
why the reasons for existence are such plain and simple things
and the Shaman nods his head to them, before he softly sings…

 

Keith Robson, 69, is a poet living on the Northeast coast of England.

 

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