How I Got My Title
Watching Ann as she looked at this, wanted that, came back to this, studied the watches, admired the pack of multi-coloured briefs…
Kind of matched my mind. It too was flitting from thought to idea to desperation.
And she changed the subject every minute, or asked the time every five.
She was just fascinated with colour. She loved going to the mall and wandering through the colourful dresses and jackets and panties; she drooled at the gold and silver in the jewellery section. She roved through the shops like a kid in a candy store. She wanted everything and my heart ached for her.
She especially obsessed about the little gold wrist watches. She already had two or three at home, and though she couldn’t tell time any more, she simply couldn’t resist the little gold wrist watches. Had she forgotten? Likely. Did it help to remind her?
Perhaps her subconscious was remembering the loss of that special gold wrist watch I had bought her in London. We were in a basement suite of an apartment building in Cheslea (that Chelsea of the little Yellow Taxi, I think) when fire broke out in the penthouse. Floods of water cascaded down into our apartment as the firefighters dowsed the fire, caused by electric wiring leading over the power saving battery pack from a home-made installation of an electrical connection.
After the fire was out, a strapping fireman carried me, like a babe in arms, down into our apartment to retrieve ID, etc. I spotted Ann’s special gold wrist watch on the book shelf beside the bedroom door.
When we were finally allowed access, “weeks” later, the watch was no longer there.
I had to distract and redirect to pry Ann away from the jewellery counter. It was a tear-inducing experience every time. Not in her. In me.
Asked what she’s doing, I blurted out: She’s flitting about like a butterfly.
I had already gathered my 78 to 82 poems together and going with the working title “A Poem for Ann” when it dawned on me. And so began Chasing a Butterfly, the poem.
Nine years old and chasing a butterfly,
Yet chasing away the boy with a net,
Loving the colour, alive and free!
Nine years old and living! …because is why.
And so it goes on.
And I had my title.
Sometimes it takes a while for the working part of the brain to catch up to the creative side.
I chose the Monarch butterfly because it is so beautiful and free and symbolic, all on its own; and because Ann revelled in its beauty and freedom; and because it is, as I wrote in my notebook:
…–she catches the butterfly and it looks at her…She captures its beauty in her soul
And on the wind…for the butterfly is on the wane…She lives as if a butterfly…
She chases her thoughts which are…as a butterfly…coquettish as a butterfly’s flight
— from Jul 5, 2014 green notebook
at 89 she frees the butterfly
because both are on the wane
Ann in flight – erratic, repetitive, adventurous…and utterly beautiful.
She was my Monarch.
Eighty-nine years old and wheeling away…
Chasing that butterfly…because is why.
CREDIT: Watches and Ann pictures by H. W. Bryce; Butterfly from free source.