an echo of butterflies

Autumn is full of butterflies. Or so it seems to me.

Sometimes, as in the picture at the top of the post, it is only the visual echo of a butterfly. Sometimes, as in this fragment, it’s a memory of summer:

From among the fallen leaves, the wind
lifts a broken butterfly wing
and gives it flight.

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autumn berries

I said yesterday that there still seemed to be a fair number of flowers around considering it’s now officially autumn. So today I went out to see if I could find something more seasonal to feature on the blog.

Hips and haws, blackberries, elderberries, snowberries, cotoneaster, yew and rowan… I went round gathering fruit from other people’s gardens and along the canal path – or at least gathering photos.
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the best policy

The previous post was a bit of a political ramble and was nowhere near as popular as other recent ones that feature pretty photos and fragments of poetry, so let’s try again.

 brimstone butterfly
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seeing red

I never collected butterflies as a child, never owned a killing jar, never pinned spread wings flat on boards or boasted of my trophies to visitors. I did, however, own a butterfly net made from a piece of net curtain, a hoop of wire and a bamboo garden cane – well, maybe my brother owned it and I acquired it – which features in the poem Childhood posted last autumn.

I could also identify just about every adult butterfly in the book, though I was less expert when it came to caterpillars.

Dead cinnabar moth
Last week, then, when I came across the lovely creature in the photo, I knew it wasn’t a butterfly at all. It had to be a moth. In fact it’s a cinnabar moth, and common enough that I am surprised I’d never seen one before.

The final lines of the poem Childhood are:

The butterflies have flown away;
their colours paint my dreams.

I’m wondering now if in fact it is moths like this that add that dash of dream colour.

autumn wings II

For years I have been sure that there’s a poem in the woodshed. Today, I seem to have found another fragment:

butterfly wing
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what’s been bugging me

In the six years this blog has been going, I’ve posted a number of pictures of bugs and creepy crawlies, so I thought I’d bring some of them together in an entomological collection.

My very first blog bug was this giant moth (it had a wingspan of about five inches). I wrote about it in May 2007 in the post Wings in the Night:

Giant peacock moth
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no change

When I said yesterday that the forecast for the night was ‘sunny’, I should perhaps have added that that was the forecast for today, too.

And for tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow, as far as the predictions go, though not, I hope, until the last syllable of recorded time.

The brimstone butterflies would be a better illustration of the hellish weather, but they won’t stay still long enough to be photographed. Instead here’s a peacock butterfly who couldn’t find any green to settle on.

peacock butterfly