April is not just “the cruelest month” (according to T. S. Eliot.) And it’s not just the “Oh-to-be-in-England” month (according to Robert Browning….) It’s also National Poetry Month ( according to whoever names these things.) In honor of NaPoMo, I offer up this poem by Robert Graves. It’s not just about how a butterfly flies, but how poems and poets do.
The butterfly, a cabbage-white
(His honest idiocy of flight)
Will never now, it is too late,
Master the art of flying straight,
Yet has – who knows so well as I?-
A just sense of how not to fly:
He lurches here and here by guess
And God and hope and hopelessness.
Even the acrobatic swift
Has not his flying-crooked gift.
My advice this month if you’re just starting out with poetry? Lurch a little. Come at the world hiccup by hiccup, fly sideways, fly crooked. It’s a gift.