ode to the snout-nosed butterfly

if you live south

look out

look out

you might demise

this little snout

i must have split

poor little wings

a thousand times

such fragile things


yet slicing through

these clouds of life

i thought to stop

upon the side

of littered roads

with bodies thin

& hold       one


against my skin


(c) d. ellis phelps

Snout-nosed butterflies have been migrating south through San Antonio and the Texas Hill Country for the past few days. High summer temperatures and drought plus recent  rains have caused the exact right climate for this phenomenon. The last time it occurred was in 2012. 

As I drove to lunch with a friend today, killing probably hundreds of these delicate creatures, their bodies, sacrificial on my windshield, on the grill of my GMC, I cringed & wondered how it might change our world (my world) if, when this kind of natural phenomenon occurs, we would stop:  declare a national holiday, pull up chairs beside the road, in the forests and witness, in reverie, these powerful mysteries happening right before our eyes.  


image:  “Leonard Cohen” used by permission of Bill Strain via Creative Commons.  Rights reserved.


    • Thank you, navasolanature! I know your name, but it might not be cool to use it. Is it? Thanks for this comment. I so rarely get them that I hardly know what to do! As noted in my poem, also a kind of elegy, I did not stop. So much of my behavior is still, still driven by perceived social pressure, by observed social norms.

      My very romantic self can see a movie of my most compassionate and therefore deemed “crazy-lady” self, stopping her car mid-freeway, jumping out, running around barefoot, waving cars down, making them stop, jamming up traffic…being carted off to jail, institutionalized…for the sake of saving the butterflies.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh that reply went quickly. First thing in the morning here! I think when your idea of gathering poems is really good and the submissions worked well. Perhaps we should have a worldwide ecopoetry anthology. Sometimes I think the best I can do is write and share. We did discuss with the second woman we saw picking wild flowers the problems with taking from the wild. She argued there was plenty for everyone. There were none left. Is this ‘ post truth’ thinking. However, her husband and friends remained quiet and didn’t support her. But I felt a bit mean as we hadn’t said anything to the first one. Although I had tried to stare at her. Not always easy in another language though but that was just an excuse. We actually managed the language quite well but ‘lost’ the impact of questioning her actions…. perhaps. Hope your day goes well.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you, Georgina! In many state and and national parks in the US, there are signs and restrictions prohibiting the removal of natural objects from the area. Also, in Texas, it is unlawful to pick our state flower, the Bluebonnet, from public lands. I can’t say that I have ever challenged anyone else for their behavior, but I do try to be mindful of my own…. I do, however, pick up and treasure bird feathers and fossils I find.


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