poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “butterfly”

an army of caterpillars

there’s not much room for error
said the butterfly to her queen

in the parlor the joker scratched
all the lotto tickets to no avail
then checked himself into the clink

the broken-hearted jack
kept mostly to himself
while the other three preferred
to spend their time at the firehouse
enjoying a few ales and playing
euchre or pinochle
joking about the king of spades
who put himself in charge of training
an army of caterpillars

december two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the butterfly effect

some places are easier to revisit than others
especially difficult are those borderline vagaries
not easily accessible from your memory bank

I’ve been told don’t overspend on a time machine
especially when the one you already possess
is perfectly capable of reaching a higher level

not everyone is interested in propelling forward
or tumbling centuries backwards
slightly redoing this or tinkering with that
gradually stitching your wings until repaired
certain to change the course of history

july two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

as forgotten can be

living in the moment
ideally like the butterfly
there is no thought
only flight
impossible to comprehend
the past
whatever it was
whatever it may have been
it is gone
gone forever
free from the chains that once
held us in place
forgotten as forgotten can be

june two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

beautiful like you

it has nothing to do with reflections
in the mirror or the stillness
at the water’s edge
the day’s sunshine nearly even
with the horizon
casting her unpredictable light
every which way
as if trying to be recognized
for the very last time

as always you are attracted
to the light in your eyes
alive like the butterfly
recently released above a field
of burgeoning sunflowers

august two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

chasing idealism with or without wings

out of thin air resides reality
like a butterfly suddenly taking flight
reminding you of days gone by
when every moment mattered

you take a stab at it
that imperceptible tipping point
hoping to reel it in and relive
a particular space in time

your subconscious orbit
always seems to get you there
but every time you awaken
the outcome never changes
and the butterfly lives on

june two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

healing power of venom

she called me baby
like spider said to butterfly
giving pause for thought
and endless possibilities

youthful wings grow tired
folding in and suspended
giving into paralyzing sting
and singing in my sleep

january two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

breathing back to life

it was a shapely leaf
seemingly frozen on the asphalt
burnt orange and brown
with spots of faded yellow
and streaks of barn red

I happened upon it strictly
by accident as I crawled
on my hands and knees
searching for a place to sleep
through the dead of winter

picking it up carefully
I cupped it gently in my hands
cold to the touch like the
thinnest of glass
fragile like fairy wings

as it warmed in my palms
I blew on its outer edges
its unforgiving blades shuddering
like a little baby bird
or a big colorful butterfly

october two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

wind chime outside my window

winds of change remain the same
although uncertain futures often
bear the best fruit

half a world away pacified oceans
symbolize endless opportunities
for lasting peace

much like the butterfly
there are no boundaries as long
as there is wind to sail
    and the wind
         oh the wind
breathes forth new life
exhaling a new kind of love
never before seen

july two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

under the sun

and when it rains we pray for brighter thoughts
and think of things that bind us to the earth
reminding us how we were born
from out of the darkness
like a flower or the butterfly

and when it rains we have time to contemplate
how the sun never hides
but rather is separated from us
from things out of our control
and it is then we learn to read each other’s minds
like the worker bee does her queen

and when the rain has passed our way
we shift our thoughts to wonderment and joy
like children skipping across wet grass
slipping and sliding and laughing under the sun

may two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

capital I is for me

this is my poetry the way I like it
and sometimes it’s just not good
or not nearly good enough
but it’s mine and I’ll stand beside it
the good along with the bad
the funny and serious and corny
left for dead in the city
or alive out in the country
jamming to the blues or rock and roll
those poetry gods gave me the freedom
to do whatever I like
including those floating butterfly verses
only I can call my own

can make me change anything
not one letter from a lower to upper case
or vice versa
because the way I wrote it
the first time
that’s how it was meant to be
and it makes no difference whether or not
it was the way it ought to be

november two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

fleeting thoughts and butterfly nets

I borrowed someone else’s thoughts
and pinned them against a blank
sheet of paper

nothing sticks quite right the first
time so I gathered them together
and sealed them in a chrysalis
where they slowly evolved into
my own creation

(I tried returning the borrowed
thoughts to their original owners
but they all refused delivery)

new words gradually emerge
out of an abbreviated hibernation
and from there I cut and copy
and delete and tweet
and paste paste paste
all the way down easy street

but of course if it was easy
everyone would be doing it
running across backyards
and open fields
swinging butterfly nets
at their ever elusive thoughts

october two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

to the queen’s rescue

court jester hoists me up
far enough
my hands grasping the bow
feet skimming along the bark
stepping vertically until
finding myself in seated position
like a fisherman

from there I cast my line
past the edge
hook motioning like a pendulum
butterfly bait caught in
capillary branches
fluttering and struggling
to belabor a million breaths

crawling out on bloodline branch
the fate of coin weighs
heavily upon a commoner’s quest
either flipping and falling
straight to the ground
or forever hailed as the
queen’s guardian angel

march two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Winter Blues

butterflies are nothing but
welcomed distractions in a
long after the youth of careless
rebellion becomes
netted in routine

december two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

alive like the butterfly

the moment you start looking back
and analyzing every misstep
chances are you are not where
you want to be
and all the hopeless wishing in the world
will leave you even more wretched

consider the beauty of the butterfly
and ask yourself if your life isn’t worth
just as much
and maybe then you will understand
moving forward is the only option
with or without a migration map

june two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved


I had lost strength
after traveling so far
past the Nile Basin
and into the unknown

A sip from an ancient flower
tasted like perfection
numbing my legs
and sending my mind
into the night sky
where I was greeted
with weightlessness and peace

Throughout the night
I envisioned weaving
up the tallest tree
whose succulent branches
encouraged me to reach the top

Amble in my sleep
I pitched a tent
and watched the world fly by

I awakened to a dazzling
white sky with rainbow clouds
and golden snowcaps
my newfound perspective
exactly like the dream

For centuries I flew across
idle fields with virgin springs
until finally tiring a second time

august two thousand twelve
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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