We asked listeners to write poems inspired by Ludovico Einaudi's “Golden Butterflies.” Read their submissions while you listen to the piece.
A pause, a respite.
A brief pause, a quiet respite.
A quiet pause, a brief respite.
One quiet, brief pause.
One brief, quiet respite.
— Conor Cook, Chaska
Golden Butterflies, after Ludovico Einaudi
is your heart
that the early spring
there is darkness
light the saint
as in the wood
flocks of flames
poured from his
mouth and he
on his knees
— Jennifer Manion, Minneapolis
April snowflakes begin to fall, gently, as though they're just a bit shy
It's a peaceful sight, as they drift and dance dizzily from the clouded sky.
They spiral down, then caught on a breeze, they soon turn into a flurry,
It's spring now, and hope is strong, so we're confident they'll melt in a hurry.
Gazing at wilted ground, are signs of life pushing up from deep below,
Bright green shoots, eager to soak up the sun, are inching up through the white snow.
Like nature, we must share that same faith, find strength to continue each day,
And when times are trying, we must lift up one another along the way.
— Juliana Scacherer, Litchfield
A time for light
A time for space
A time for bright
A time for safe
A time to breathe
A time to feel
A time to sigh
A time that's real
A time to run
A time to leap
A dreamy time
I find in sleep
A time that's not
So long ago
A time familiar
A time I know
A time I knew
A time I was
A time I'll see
The time is near
Though not quite now
I'll feel the sun
When I emerge
The time will be
A time for me
— Annabelle Salas, St. Paul
Summer songs recall,
What long ago you let fall,
In life, love is all.
— Walter Roers, Bloomington
Seek in nature escape, health-
Walking, walking, free.
— Traci Juhala, Bismarck
~Inspired by Golden Butterflies~
The thrower sits silently,
alone at her wheel.
A twinkle in her eye.
As delicate fingers travel gently along the clay,
physically as well as in the mind,
meditating on what new life could be.
At once, it begins.
Playfully rising up,
like a butterfly riding the wind;
firmly pressing down,
knowing this is part of the game.
Changing shape, but topologically still the same.
Then without warning,
as if collapsing to the ground,
a feeling deep in her stomach:
she knows she's lost it.
A long sigh
desperation- and exhaustion setting in.
Sometimes you simply have to sit,
wait, be still.
The feeling returns, stronger than ever.
Blooming like a cosmic flower that's been waiting eternity for spring.
Wild winds blowing colorful pedals off into the unknown,
the artist attempts to hang on.
And as the turbulence subsides,
this graceful creature lands next to her;
indifferent at first,
then like the Madonna to child:
a glimpse of utter peace,
as it offers itself to the world.
— Brandon Russell, St. Paul
A fresh breath of clean.
A whisper of green
Small tendrils of bean
and fresh worm cuisine.
When nothing's routine,
they still peck and preen.
— Laura Salas, St. Paul
In one version of the story,
The Apostles, except for John,
all ran--I was going to say like hell--
when the hammering began, and they could smell the blood
beneath the darkening, churning clouds.
In a book I've lost, I once read another version
in which Dismas, while hearing the sounds
of Gestas the impenitent, screaming,
and Jesus just trying to catch his breath,
saw them running toward something,
running bravely to the points of intersection
their Teacher had already illuminated for them.
Dismas watched Saul watching Stephen
who testified before the Sanhedrin.
He saw the first flung stone that nudged him to sleep
under a sky that was blue, without clouds.
Dismas saw the world turned upside down,
As Peter did, crucified, feet pointed
towards Heaven, while the pouring rain
soaked his beard.
He saw the head of Paul, saw in the dust of Calvary,
the club for Jude, the knife for Thomas,
and saw the wind blowing on the
footprints of Bartholomew in Armenia.
As the earthquake began, the Good Thief
Dismas, running nowhere with his broken legs,
saw before he closed his eyes, an opportunity reserved only for him.
For everyone else in the story, He was
Teacher, Rabbi, Master, but for
Dismas, the end of all desires was to breathe Yeshua.
And he did, again, and then again.
— Jeff Johnson, Avon
The screen door slapped it's crooked frame
As bare feet skimmed down three wooden steps
And across a cobbled path till they cringed as
cuts filled with eager grains of gravel from the dusty road.
Weak tears of protest crawled from my eyes
as each foot dug fast into the shifting dirt
till I reached the hill top field of Black-Eyed Susan's.
Wading deep into the waist high crowd of green and yellow
my arms stretched east and west.
Fingertips brushed buttery leather blooms as
a breeze picked up.
A dark bird darted by as I twirled like a child, arms still outstretched
till my toe caught a root.
I collapsed into a Brigid's cross of limbs
amongst the scratchy green stalks.
How long I lay there, I'm unaware.
Long enough for the sun to saunter well past its zenith
and a curious tongue brush my cheek.
Garter snakes, warmed on the stone of my body,
started and slithered into the haloed safety of my hair,
then braided themselves into the broken stalks below
While the white flock of clouds above turned stone gray
with the opening of my hazel eyes
beneath the golden flowers
dancing like honeyed butterflies.
— Mary Appold, St. Paul
the little dog
by the window
fills my heart with tears
her family leave
paws on the sill
scratching at the door
her love back
— Jay Coleman, Madison
"Golden Butterflies:" a dog's perspective
Thunder lies behind the dark orchestral 4 a.m. hour
Rain smells near,
that sweet twinging tympani that rightly scares the birds
A stream of light, seconds too long, spreads from window to window
repeating patterns of the piano, drip-drop gentle intro to the storm
the swirling violin, the wind of the cello crescendos even more
Melodies blanket the early morning until
red cardinal's staccato, staccato, legato as the sunlight breaks
There, among early spring greens, crawls the monarch caterpillar
waiting for the percussion's fluttering ostinato of wings soon to burst from its cocoon
when I can chase, through the afternoon sunlight, the vibrant butterflies of summer
and stretch out semibreve in the timbre tall grass.
— Kristie Smith, Stillwater
Droplets of unshed tears
fall upon keys
forgotten and tucked away
in the in the hope of looking back
upon better yesterdays
not bearing the hats we wear to hide
but the ones to simply highlight whats inside
tarnished moths, with a buttered fly
dreams, of waking up to a clear night sky
falling upwards on these broken butterfly dreams
of restful resurrections from evening naps
in the arms of a hope that sings
rushing forward in this vacuous spring
with little panted baby steps
creeping round a wandered thought
wondering what newness the heavens have wrought.
Ironing out the details day by day
moment by moment
— Peter Eschweiler, Golden Valley
Bare foot, leaping through the grass
My eyes on a butterfly swooping past
For its wings are golden, and as thin as glass
The most beautiful sight that i have ever seen
How could I possibly intervene
So towards my house I start to lean
But as I start to turn away
The butterfly comes to me as if saying, "you stay?"
I shrug my shoulders. "Okay okay!"
— Sophie Milstein, Shorewood
I Offer You This Plant for Your Birthday
Ten thousand glowing embers
from the Cancer constellation are
shaken in a tumbler
cast and scattered across
the city, its own kind of forest,
each building guarded by bark of stone
brick aluminum siding glass.
You are action potentials'first bloom shy'
yet, you pull me across the couch
shifting our spark-charged embrace
into a silent two-step in the rented living room.
Your lips are curious cotton butterflies,
the salty taste of water on inked leaves.
We share an orange
walk in the nectar of a Southern afternoon
past trees whose names are all known to you.
Histories healed, glassy and tamed
by the noble Potomac's silver repetition,
your voice refines the sonority of the Falls.
For two people who hardly shut up,
a conversational departure escapes us at DCA.
I don't know if this plant has roots,
but we left some seeds between the cracks in the sidewalk.
Perhaps you'll always think of me now on your birthday
— Valerie Little, Minneapolis
like the strands of a spider's web;
like the fence's wrought-iron bar;
like the Spirit's Soul at rest;
like lights that help us see so far;
Thus, the fragrance fills the room
and settles on the ears of those who choose to see
Enlightening the corners, dark and doleful;
Bringing us to all the places where we'd rather be.
— Webb, St. Paul
When Humans Make Cocoons
We watch our finger tips as they
slide around each others' backside.
Mine search and find the tautness
of the muscles near your spine.
I feel your palms on my shoulders.
Our heads glance off each other as we
smell the oils and essence of the other.
Damp breath bathes our necks.
As we pull closer
our heads touch again.
We feel the rise and fall
of each others' chest.
Our hearts beat in tandem as
we share our warmth and energy.
Then we each open our arms
and slowly let go while
gazing into each others' eyes
exchanging smiles and comforting words
as we emerge from the cocoon we
have just constructed for each other.
— Michael Kluznik, Mendota Heights
A yellow butterfly
landed on a garden lily
and poked its long proboscis
into the blossom's funnel.
With ease and grace the Monarch flew
from one blossom to another
pollinating each incidentally
while sucking its sweet nectar.
Wide-spread wings of yellow gold
blended into blossom's color
revealing on each petal plane
a pattern of fine black lines
like panes of stained glass windows
facing up to heaven
and I breathed again
— Martha Solow, Lebanon
What primeval pleasure he derives
from poking the coals and stoking
the fire in the small cast iron stove.
No longer able to kneel, he sits
in a chair by the hearth to add a log
and prod those charred.
He spreads his gnarled fingers to warm them,
then folding his ancient hand in his lap,
pleased with the dance of the flames,
He leans back in his chair, nods his approval
— Tracy Madison, Lodi
She sat by the shore and scooped the sand into her hand
Holding it like a universe, she let the bits grace her palm
for one soft moment.
Looking at them with a scrupulous fogged eye,
She tilted her head to focus in on each morsel.
Remembering the warm summers of youth,
she smiled a wicked smile
And spread her fingers open
Letting go of the kiss that changed
the direction of the wind,
And her life.
— Laura Martin, Braham
My paddle dips
Into the silky stillness
Paddle and arm become
Partners propelling us
To a wilderness
Where there's only calm
And the nurture
— Kay Erickson, Lakeville
When butterflies fly
it is not with the sprawling confidence
but faith in the constant of air, a breath
their desperately flapping, delicate wings.
— Laura Shelter, Northfield
Solidarity in Solitary
My fingers are feet
I change the beat
Paired together now
No longer alone
Swept down the black and white ivories
My feet carry the tone
Until reverberating strings challenge the tempo
Transition from sullen to a warm home
Let's dance from a distance, no embrace
I open my eyes, I'm no longer alone
— David Roers, Bloomington
You fly around the world.
The things you see must be beyond compare.
You start as small caterpillar,
Confined to the tree that you call home.
'Til one day you grow up, with wings as big as tear drops,
First only a flutter,
Then faster and faster. Things zoom by.
Your wings carry you to amazing places and amazing people.
You bring joy and comfort, everywhere you go.
But, before you know it,
Your wings start to soften,
You have lived a good life.
But nothing can stay good forever.
As your wings slow down you find a quiet resting place.
You watch as the world begins to fade away.
But, don't worry,
Your will be remembered,
— Savannah Switzer, Apple Valley
I am slumped here before the computer
Like a frog waiting for the dragonfly
To flit by and inspiration snatched up
Curled around the lengthy reach of frog tongue
Who pauses, then swallows with a smug grin.
Frogs are that way you know, and so am I
But though I wait for tardy dragonfly
None fly by and the opportunity
To benefit from its trajectory
Leaves me slumping more while this day passes
— Carrie Wasley, St. Paul
Sheltering in Place
His mother holds her breath, hearing the news.
Eight long months to go, his perfect limbs begin to bud.
A yellow baby blanket, here on the outside,
Begins with a hundred stitches,
Cast on with love.
He begins to dance.
His Maker begins to knit.
Basking in the warmth of amniotic fluid surrounding him,
He stretches out newly-formed fingers,
Bounces against soft walls,
His father prays:
'Almighty God, Whose fingers placed the stars,
No tiny tombstone for this one, please?!'
He steadies her beating heart,
Does his best to wipe away her fears,
And bravely sends her off to her night shift.
He hears her sing, courageously, into the darkness.
Her heartbeat is his lullaby.
He waves gently, and she smiles,
We prepare our prayerful welcome.
The blanket's almost done.
The Maker's masterpiece still hidden from our eyes,
The world on pause, and sheltering in place,
— Deborah Reece, Zimmerman
The iron guards stare at me through their crystal eyes.
They fence my limbs to save me from pain
and are amazed by the perfect rhythm
that my chest is set to follow.
Oxygen is my escape, and therefore I throw a rope
for it to tie myself around him.
The room begins to turn and tosses with me,
following a childhood chant that tells us stories about witches and midnight wonderers.
I breathe heavily, and it is my breath what keeps us spinning; me, my room and oxygen.
I can't tell if we are leaving the atmosphere or not.
The universe remained silent as we passed by and we didn't mind asking.
The knot is starting to tremble and, as I feel the laces leaving my waist,
I stretch desperately to hold them.
Both ends elude me.
I have seen the sun during our encounter
and I don't want to leave;
My head bounced against the mattress.
The speed of sound caught me as I fell, but I was too infinite for it to embrace me.
The guards retreat once again to admire my poise in all its glory.
Am I still here?
— Valeria Devoto, Buenos Aires
Like a whisper set upon a breeze
Wings that flutter softly seem
An ephemeral fragrance aimed to tease
Out memories of haunts long ago seen.
Like a hint of fragrance from afar,
Like ghostly notes on ivory keys,
Like fading glimmers of distant stars,
The sight of flitting wings so quickly flees.
If a glance were ever to be a gaze,
The colored patterns painted so precisely
On wings that beat like water's waves
Would appear to gleam like glass from sea.
Broken shards by storms and lulls now smoothed
Rest as treasures upon the present shore
Like painful memories with time subdued
Now glimmers wing'd hope where hurt before.
The little creature takes its flighted course
From rippled shadows to dappled bowers
Wending its way to the fragrant source
Jewels of the sun-breathing earth, the flowers.
As delicate as the innocence of youth
As multicolored and fleeting as raw emotion
The little creature wends it winged way
As though a whisper set upon a breeze.
— Sarah Hamrin, Bemidji
Somewhere between Flora and Paradise
I sped along a forgotten highway
The sun shown bright as I looked at a thread of water far below
The canyon walls loomed all around me
And the cold March day
Felt suddenly like July
The wind calmed and stopped
And sleepiness drifted over
As I lay in the gravel looking at the sky
A solitary butterfly
The first of the year
Came into view
Of golden butterflies
— Jonathan Greif, La Grande
A Path Unknown
Once upon a starry day,
when flowered hills reflected
a wing-laced sky,
I look above living leaves floating,
Each beat an echoing whisper
moving along a path unknown.
To where they go, I know not;
From whence they came is beyond
But as these echoes fade from sight,
a Question, once unanswered,
answers me now, more quiet than
the gentle wind. 'Yes!', He laughs.
'There is magic.'"
— Ambrose Greif, La Grande
So Worried Was I
I had forgotten all about the leaves
whispering green, wakening branch,
tap dance of buoyant spring.
Forgotten how the arc of seasons
rises from the dark
how the light
breeze, soft as prayer,
yet has power enough to ease
the grip of winter's dread
like fingers from a careful fist
my need to look ahead.
Spring's summons is
be here instead,
be open to surprise.
Today new leaves are opening
— Marg Walker, St. Paul
Dazzle me with your lovely dancing colors,
as I contemplate your existence.
A lovely miracle.
— Stanley Owens, Duluth
Aspen Mountain Morning
Golden light climbing over the ridge line
Softly kisses the trees
Bringing a warm glow to silver-white boles.
Heart-shaped leaves dance in a gentle breeze
Sunlight shimmers and sparkles
Green and gold, emerald and topaz.
The dancing leaves whisper together,
Sharing secrets ancient and eternal.
The trees know the mysteries of the ages
If we take time to listen,
They will share them with us.
— Ann Maria Mattila, Rock Springs
My days of sauntering through the routines of quarantine drown me like torrential rain.
I try to hide in the night, beleaguered by the pains of the time, but the resounding rain wakes me.
It beckons me to come to the storm.
In the rain away from others, I let the cascading water cleanse me.
When the eye of the storm comes, I see the scabrous branches of trees with infant blooms like a coiffure.
Between the jagged branches, budding with life, and the wind chime without a knell, I stand in the mollifying night.
The cloud that covers the moon like dark muslin drifts away.
Brighter than the day, the moon is like an iridescent iris.
I dance and sway without the ringing wind in my ears.
When the sun rises, I return to my routine and brace for the day, then from my window, I see.
There, the jagged branches and their burgeoning blooms sparkle with diamond beads of rain that light my way.
I feel no more the poison of a dawning morn
— Ariel Brown, Baltimore
But By Me
No one comes to butterflies but by me,
Said the caterpillar softly, of course;
But surely, slowly, inevitably,
We arrive, in color, with little force.
There's nothing magical, of drama none;
But quiet change of form from furred creature
Climbing stems to life enwrapped in cocoon,
Dormant waiting my dominant feature.
While inside a woven web, soft, not dense,
Whatever happens, being, becoming,
Does so without outside interference,
Self-alteration, a new form forming.
You may wonder who I am in that time
Of thread-wrapped change, and am I pleased or scared
As I no longer crawl and lose this prime
Way of being, an act no one else dared.
In cocoon-wrapped moments I give no thought
If where I am is proper to my end,
Or a place strange to be from furry start;
Form alters apace, a-thread, change contained.
Change contained, cocooned, with what was given;
Nothing added to bring these wings about
From what wove a softness for its living
And its becoming, in time to come out.
All that is needed is in softness held,
Unseen within, the destiny of flight
Latent in genes, inherently propelled, -
Time after time, by nature's gentle might.
— Wayne Albertson, Richfield
Ours, ours to own
how it nestles us
the over and over
our flight of breath
bends our attention
to echo to shift to pause
the cello knows shifting
is not other
shows us the open
the long view
ours to own
— Suzanne Swanson, St. Paul
Lavish and fragrant filled with wild wires of lightning
great punches to follow
Hay is making sneezing universal all this is commonly true
Satisfactions beyond number
Fisherman get their catch
the sail has just enough wind
when country children play
and hardly persuaded to remember the necessity of sleep
while fireflies are blinking as high as bedroom windows
people on porches exhausted
now less ambitious than any season
so filled with the beautiful cloudy stuff of summertime dreams
So poets in this fullness write of wonder
touch taste & tenderness
of earth clothed in leaves and flowers
tenderness too of love
grows from stinging desires of spring
to intimate agreements of summer
Poet Mary Sarton speaks of summer
golden buttercup wild summer
Thoreau of the visible heat
Dylan Thomas says a young boy turns green and golden
the poetry of earth is never dead says Keats
Affirmation and PROTEST which every year as summer wanes we
must come to
I have come to
Dark window through which every summer wanes
every summer drains
We must come to
A meditation on time
and place and time and change.
— Cate Belleveau, Puposky
I'm a hybrid of the Grizzled Skipper, the Pygmy Blue,
and possibly Steve Reich, though that lineage
is the subject of controversy.
You'll notice, I don't range as far or as free as my kindred types,
with their flutter and sport, their
directionless search for nectar. Rather,
I do my best work one step of flight at a time
--ascending, light, then back down, repeat
and repeat. No herky jerky melody,
like other flying bugs. No harmonic complication,
but predictable, as if to make a point. But what is the point? Glad you asked! But I can't answer.
Somewhere after the mourning cello and the piano's ostinato,
I come to rest -- perhaps on the pianist's right hand,
which has been working even less hard
than I have, or than the left. But is it music?
Ask the entomologists; they're the ones
who wrote the program notes.
They say the meadow is filled with audience, very much live.
And the audience is filled with meadow, on one day
of seven the composer went for an ambient walk.
And you, listener? You can go along with us
or shelter in place in peace.
As you like.
— Richard Terrill, New Hope
On and on and the wind is your partner.
Over and through my open soul.
Where is the end of the dance?
Only when I close my eyes.
— Jason Ochocki, Cannon Falls
My heart begins the song, my spirit follows into the light that the music brings to my soul.
My soul crave the light and the lovely sounds that feed the yearning for love.
Love flows from the generosity of my heart, my spirit, my soul.
They, together, are bringing love and comfort to others because of the notes of a song we can all sing as one.
— Suzanne McLaughlin, St. Michael
Mom flew in today.
Five years since she died.
So imagine just imagine
when I beheld
this sweetest old lady
dusting off wings
(gritty and gold)
rattling on and on
about traffic....up there.
She bubbles, chatters, settles a-fluff...
Her eyes catch mine.
Mom, I say....Mom....
She says....Dear one....
and strokes my hair and says it's a mess
and I say I know
and she says I need her
and I say I know
and she says it's okay
and I say I know
I reach toward her face --
then awaken, my arms flung open.
The air moves gently
as if on command --
to bring lift
— Kristi Larsen, Atlanta
Knowing I am made
of dirt and water
It's a wonder to watch
Brown, black, red
with our other mother
Water trills across
— Michael Resman, Rochester
The butterfly drifts down through the air,
Her head is held high as she lands,
Her mind is free from all wordly care
As she settles in a child's cupped hands.
The child's laughing eyes draw near,
and intently peer at the golden design,
Tracing every black line, dark and pure,
Each speck of gold seeming to shine,
Both are unique, but the same in a way,
Both innocent of sorrows, oblivious of pain,
Fearful, not now, nor of the coming day,
Radiantly beautiful, but neither is vain.
— Rosalyn Greif, La Grande
Dreaming out the window
on a cold MN spring day
twittering in the wind
Up and down
like the wings of a butterfly.
Oh lovely butterfly
come to me again.
My flowers will be waiting
for your landing
your gentle touch
upon each petal
your wings glowing
vibrating in the sweet morning light
Til you lift again
— Lin Mulhern, Minnetonka
To Begin Softly
Knowing not what
Lies beyond the leaf
Born of Long Suffering
In Silence and Darkness
We fly into the Golden Light.
— JohnHenry Tecklenburg, Charleston
Sad and somber sound
Rising nostalgic notes.
Lighten our mood
Lift our spirits.
Weightless wonders in graceful flight
Fragile wings spread dazzling light.
Colors of gold in wildflower fields
Share your strength
Fill us who follow
with fluttering hope.
— Barbara Klug, Minneapolis
Love the music?
Show your support by making a gift to YourClassical.
Each day, we’re here for you with thoughtful streams that set the tone for your day – not to mention the stories and programs that inspire you to new discovery and help you explore the music you love.
YourClassical is available for free, because we are listener-supported public media. Take a moment to make your gift today.