Jose Asuncion Silva

(1865 - 1896 / Colombia)

Chrysalises


The little girl, though very ill,
Went out one morning
To wander, with faltering footsteps,
The nearby hill.
She brought back mountain flowers
In which she hid
A chrysalis and, unknowing, set it
Close beside her bed.

A few days later, at the moment
She lay dying,
We all gathered round, our eyes
Red with crying,
And at the instant she departed
The whisper of wings
Was heard, and through the window,
Taking flight, escaping
Into the waiting garden, wafted
A golden butterfly.

Hurriedly, I searched for the insect’s
Now empty prison,
Then turned my gaze to the dead child’s
Pallid brow.
If the winged butterfly, I thought, leaves
Its confining cell
To find light and space and the immensity
Of golden fields,
What shall the newly freed soul find when
It bursts its shell?

Submitted: Tuesday, April 06, 2010

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