Question Mark Butterfly
An October’s windrowed field,
And on my hike I have to yield
When from the path you launch your lark
Then settle pressed against some bark.
A question for you, Question Mark:
How was it you were so designed
With beauty not foremost in mind?
You share the sugar maples’ mood
Like all your red-orange autumn brood,
But soon you’ll seek to winter where
With wings together as in prayer
You’ll haunt some crevice and forbear.
And why that trial by snow and ice—
Should not a chrysalis suffice?
Your wings when you will not confide
Show us their dullish woody side—
And that mark that can be coy,
That silver ringlet trompe l’oeil,
For which your Adam did anoint
You an interrogation point.
Then how you warn us story-lovers
Of judging books just by their covers,
For with one vivid respiration
You part your Book of Revelation,
That splendid text of ash and fire
Whose secret wisdom we desire!
And as you breathe who are the sages
That turn unseen your burning pages—
Can I become an intimate
Of Lepidoptera Holy Writ?
Your wings as well are so curvaceous,
Their flowing margins violaceous,
Like leaves in dreams, and hereupon we
Have to ask, this kirigami:
Who plied the shears with all this craft,
And where then are you autographed?
And shouldn’t such perfection’s hours
Be wiled away in minding flowers?
And yet you crave what can’t invite us,
Felled rotting fruit and such detritus—
Between your flying-circus stunts
That fling you everywhere at once:
You’re like a flaming paper plane
Inside a private hurricane!
Is dread alone what makes you start?
(The thought of that can break the heart.)
Or is your romp that’s so erratic
The raptures of an Earth ecstatic—
With schooling in the Eleatic,
When since so often it’s your plan
To end up right where you began?
O Question Mark, you midair dancer,
Is silence then your only answer?
There’s so much I would like to know
But now I see you have to go
And leave me mostly in the dark
On matters of the Question Mark.