Saturday, January 07, 2006

Butterfly on Rock (and Layton poem), blog entry, Jan 4 06
RIP Irving Layton
by Ally, Brooklyn, NY
January 4, 2006

Irving Layton died today in Montreal at the age of 93. His poetry has moved me as much as any poetry ever has. There was nothing like studying his work in Montreal in the fall of 2001.

Rest in Peace.

"Butterfly on Rock", 1963.

The large yellow wings, black-fringed,
were motionless

They say the soul of a dead person
will settle like that on the still face

But I thought: The rock has borne this;
this butterfly is the rock’s grace,
its most obstinate and secret desire
to be a thing alive made manifest

Forgot were the two shattered porcupines
I had seen die in the bleak forest.
Pain is unreal; death an illusion:
There is no death in all the land,
I heard my voice cry;
And brought my hand down on the butterfly
And felt the rock move beneath my hand.


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