top of page

Little Wood-satyr Butterfly


O wood-satyr, little wood-satyr,

Butterfly of the underwood gloom,

With your quiet taste, and scarcely a breeze

In your umber sails, you stagger

Through your twilit haunts of mushroom,

Moss and fern, and seedling trees.

And if you seem a far-flung shadow

Of those papilion of royal birth

So richly hued and iridescent

Their dalliance in a blue-skied meadow

Seems nearer to heaven than to earth—

We’re apt to dream you less a faun

Than a hardy little backwoods peasant

In your warm and handsome earthen brown.


O wood satyr, little wood satyr,

Butterfly of the forest dapple,

Where a morning sunstreak angles down

To the parasol of a mayapple,

You break that beam in your sober stagger,

Then to the sun-touched herb you flutter

And bask where that warm light is thrown!

Now an opened antique book I see,

But effaced of failing words to utter—

No, arrayed in eyes to read its readers!

And that’s not Greek, that’s Zen to me.

But the thrush that calls with such elation,

The murmurous brook, the whispering firs—

O little wood-satyr, it’s a recitation


From your open lamp-lit Psalter there,

Our woodland book of common prayer.


bottom of page