Love Letters 11: My Butterfly

This sonnet is packed with rhetorical questions and juxtapositions; these techniques are the perfect tools for sharing the conflict and confusion of the narrative. 

Each line in the first quatrain contains a juxtaposed pair: “bonds … chains”, “break … escape”, “loss … gains”, “vellum … crepe”. However, on close inspection, there is also ambiguity. Although “bonds” can be strong, positive connections, they can also be tethers. A “break” can be a prison break, or something that breaks. It can also be a holiday, respite.

The second quatrain is comprised of four (or five, depending on how dependent you take the clauses in line seven to be) rhetorical questions. These are appeals to the addressee that will never be answered; such is the nature of poetry.

The final quatrain presents metaphors of freedom that become increasingly ominous. The first line is literal and so contains no linguistic suggestion of malignance. However, line eleven uses the phrase “out at sea” which could mean escape, but idiomatically means lost.

The capping couplet was the hardest to write. Caesura in the final line “dream. And” gives the summary the finality I wanted to sculpt.

My Butterfly
What I saw as proud bonds, you saw as chains
What to me was a break was your escape
What I struck as a loss you weighed as gains
Our vellum history books, you felt, were crepe.
How long did you pretend that all was well?
Did carrying that burden twist your spine?
Was time with me a torment, was it hell?
Was I a fool to ever think you mine?
Well now you’re independent, now you’re free
Your wings have been unclipped, you’ve shed your reins
You’ve fled from Alcatraz, you’re out at sea
On your clean slate no dust of me remains.
	For years I yearned for my bright butterfly
	Now I’ve released that dream. And watched it die.

One comment

  1. Love this Alex as it leaves the reader wondering what other stories lie beneath the words. Absolutely love the Alcatraz reference, felt like I was in that sea!
    Amazing work and here’s to the last three! What an achievement of focus and a testament to the usage of the English language, new and old.

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