I’m back. Most of you won’t have known I was gone. But I was. In Wales. And it was very nice too.

I did a fair bit of writing while I was over there, which I’ll hopefully find time to trawl through over the next few days. In the meantime, here’s a draft of one of the things I wrote, Butterfly Man.

On one of our cycles out we stumbled across this amazing little hut in the wilderness, run for the preservation of butterflies and insects. It consisted of a tropical enclosure, with fans and hot water blowers- and lots of butterflies, fluttering about, drunk on pollen. That the stag beetles were kept in tanks, I can even now only get down on my knees and thank the Lord our Father for.

The man who ran the place had more zeal and clear love for his charges than I would ever have thought possible in a human. I, who kill silverfish and am enemy to roaches can only feel humbled. This poem starts with someone like him and then goes further. Con Crit Gratefully received…

Butterfly Man

Legs like a stick insect
brain like a frog
The Butterfly Man
was as strong as a bug,
he was grasshopper lean
and milipede spry
and he lived with a jungle
in his semi-detached

His obsession began when he was a nipper
Got silk worms at school from his 7th grade teacher
He took them all home to keep safe over summer
kept 12 in a fish tank, fed green leaves like butter.

The butterfly boy would watch them at night time
Lie on his stomach, face down on the lino.
The silk worms would rear on their little back hind legs
Jut snouts at the glass like some
kick-ass style hybrids.

They were nimble as fingers and clever as cats,
graceful as limas and stronger than ox, butterfly man
as a boy was enranced by
florescent green fellas
that lived by his bedside.

The man as a boy had little to rise for,
school was a mess and his family to die for
but when he was with – his wriggling dots
he found a vocation
the kind you could love.

That summer from school was the longest one yet
and the silk worms grew slow as the oak leaves grew less;
when waking one morning he looked at the tank
he found they’d all vanished
replaced by white pods

The butterfly boy, was ridden with grief
and drove to distraction, picked up the left leaves.
Like yokels with grass stems, he chowed down on shoots
thought of his wrigglers
and prayed for his troops.

Now night after night he saw visions of green-ness:
curled up tight bodies
unfurled like umbrellas.
The hours he slept in were hung up in flight plans
wing spans of patterns flew bright in his eye pools.

When one morning in August he woke with a pain
an ache in his shoulders – a lumberjack’s strain.
he looked to his fish tank – and saw broken out shells,
threads looped and empty –
and wings spread like bells.

When he patted his muscles to ease up the joint
he found by his shoulders the nubs of a growth
the two little lumps – were feathered and soft
and they twitched like antennae
and flapped like a moth’s.

Yes the butterfly man had grown wings to be folded
Under his clothes like a laudry-day’s load in
Like a couple of papery, leathery darts,
he pressed them out flat
like a cloth when he bathed.

Now he’s living in his semi, as a man with no name
raising his insects and miles around famed.
He’s got stick insects, beetles, roaches and lice,
Weevels and slimy, milipede pipes.
He ‘s got

legs like a stick insect
brain like a frog
The butterfly man
is as strong as an ox ,
he’s grasshopper lean
and milipede spry
and he lives with a jungle
in his semi-detached.