Common Buckeye Butterfly

 

He arrives in the garden

And alights in the sun

 

To dry the latest touches

On his portrait in progress,

 

The diptych on his open wings,

So very long in the painting.

 

This wayfaring plein-air colorist,

 

With the warm

Autumn-in-Eden

Splendor of his palette,

 

And that meant-to-be

Fearful symmetry

Of eyes,

 

Like a da Vinci study of hands,

Like an embryonic Picasso:

 

An hypnotic vigilance

Of false eyes

 

So filled with wonder

 

Our wonder

 

They can bring to our own

The truest tear

 

Of mystification.

 

How dream-strange!

 

This startling portrait

Of No-one

 

By Nobody,

 

Reflecting our shared

Sensibilities with—

 

With nothing at all.

 

Still, he can’t suffer praise,

This irascible Old Master,

 

Feeling as he does

Each betrayal of perfection,

 

And any admirer

Alighting nearby

 

From the merest skipper

To the bulkiest locust

 

He’s quick to harass

And urge on its way.

 

—Your body of work, Master:

 

Can we call it abstract

And Kandinsky a protégé?

 

You may call it what it is:

The righteous God of All.

 

He posed for my portfolio

In all His vengeful might so great.

 

Of all His eyes

I’ve captured eight—

 

Six more than Michelangelo.

 

And these eight eyes

I have on view

 

And those reserved

For watching you.

 

So if it’s me

You loathe or savor,

 

Do yourself a giant favor:

 

Show God

Your very best behavior.

 

This awful gaze is His, you see.

 

Now let this Common Buckeye be.