soundscape

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a trumpet of a day —
the blue sky humming
the green crackle of grass
the chime of a small white butterfly
dancing to the drumbeat
of yellow sunflowers —
and after the red song of sunset
blazes over the horizon
i listen to the sighs
of the deep black night

 

 

 

 

 

©A. D. Joyce, 2017

Beautification (street art)

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Street art is adorning the walls of more and more buildings in Newark, NJ, lately. I think some of them are being commissioned by Newark mayor Ras Baraka? In any event, these works are increasing the unique character of the city. Just beautiful.

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All photos by A.D. Joyce.

©A. D. Joyce, 2015

the butterfly psyche

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breaking through the cocoon walls
with nothing but small feet
and powdery wings
this is the power of a dream
from safety
to the unknown of flight
this is the self in the making
there’s a universe of air
so why do butterflies
go it alone
fluttering crazily
from flower to scent
to knee deep in nectar
exposed
beautiful
and expectant

©A. D. Joyce, 2015

Singing of Freedom

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“The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.”

from “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou

Although the world experienced a great loss with the death of poet Maya Angelou yesterday, I find it  impossible not to celebrate and be grateful for the beautiful example of her life and words.

She spent years as a girl refusing to speak due to guilt over heinous crimes she did not commit. But she eventually decided to emerge from silence into a life of self expression in the arts. She spoke about personhood, womanhood, and race in a generous voice that allowed all of us to share in her strength.

She sang for freedom. She sang for all of us.

Quietly,
in staccato,
the butterfly
sings of freedom,
too.

Maya Angelou: Thank you and rest in peace.

Maya Angelou 1928 - 2014

Maya Angelou 1928 – 2014

©A. D. Joyce, 2014

Oiseaux, les abeilles, et des papillons

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Oiseaux, les abeilles, et des papillons
Abordent les fleurs
Violet, rouge, jaune, et de plus
Et il est difficile de dire
Qui est d’avoir le plus de plaisir
Oiseaux, abeilles, papillons, fleurs
Ailes, pieds, becs, piqûre
Pistils, pétales, ovaires
En français ou en anglais
C’est la langue du printemps

©A. D. Joyce, 2014

Modern Times

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When I was a girl,
most of the butterflies
I saw around here
were small and plain.
Sometimes I would
cup them mid flight
between my two hands
just to feel their wings
tickling my palms.
I pinched a wing once
with my thumb and pointer
and the powder from it
was left on my fingertips.

I used to bottle ants
and fireflies and grasshoppers
in glass jars but somehow
I never thought a butterfly
was for keeps.
I rarely see them these days
in my brick-walled
concrete-and-steel life,
where the shrubbery
is flowerless and trimmed.

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©A. D. Joyce, 2014

Butterfly Facts

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At night or during bad weather, butterflies hang from the undersides of leaves or crawl into crevices between rocks.

The typical life expectancy of a butterfly is two to 14 days due to predators or the weather. Some live for as long as a year.

The ancient Greek word for butterfly is psyche.

butterfly (English)
buttorfleoge (Old English)
papillon (French)
ihe n’efe-efe (Igbo)
farasha (Arabic, standard)
mariposa (Spanish)
borboleta (Portuguese)
bebe (Fijian)

Eighty percent of all butterfly species live in the tropics.

Butterflies communicate mostly through chemical signals. A few species can produce noises with their wings.

Some people say that when a butterfly lands on you it means good luck.

In Chinese culture, two butterflies flying together symbolize love.

In Devonshire, UK, people would traditionally rush around to kill the first butterfly of the year that they see or else face a year of bad luck.

In the Philippines, a lingering black butterfly or moth in the house is taken to mean that someone in the family has died or will soon die.

Butterflies breathe through tiny openings on their sides, smell with their antennae, and taste with their feet.

You can feed butterflies with a butterfly feeder and homemade nectar.

(Facts via the Butterfly WebSite and Wikipedia.)

©A. D. Joyce, 2014