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Brazilian Butterflies

My brother and I had dinner in an amazing restaurant called Green Fields.  It's a Brazilian Barbque place and we were enchanted by the brilliant pictures of butterflies on the walls - and then we realized that the pictures were made up of thousands of butterfly wings!  It's illegal now to import the butterflies or their wings but the pictures remain in mute testimony of their destruction to create art.  

The walls have pretty pictures,
iridescent, glowing brightly.
You can ponder how they
happened to be captured
in the frames.
While you eat Brazilian
sip California wine,
you can watch the mariposas
and recite their Latin names.
Fragile wings are still and silent,
frozen in their glassy tomb
and the Spring lamb’s fat
is sweet upon your tongue.
Sirloin bleeds in pink profusion
on white plates that grace your table
and the bones will stink tomorrow
when fly rhapsodies are sung.
In the warm Brazilian jungles,
see the little mariposas,
flitting past on iridescent wings of blue
heedless of new legislation
that makes netting them illegal;
Enjoy all the pretty pictures
since there’ll be no more for you.

12 Nov 03

Rated 9.1 (7.1) by 9 users.
Active (9): 3, 7, 8, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10
Inactive (15): 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 10

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Isabelle, you are truly improving as a writer. There's a marked difference between the quality of your work before and now. Your work is paying off!

Plus, this is maybe the one single time I've seen a preface in the form of a note work for a poem (although I would have preferred to see it be shorter...one line, if possible). Regardless, congratulations.
 — unknown

Thank you, Unknown. I was trying to also put out the idea that we don't even notice the destruction of the lambs or the cows on the grill - because they aren't beautiful? Or not potential art work? I'm not sure if the irony of the protection and horror of the destruction of one species while eating several types of other was strong enough. I'm afraid it might come across as out of place or having nothing to do with the entirety.
 — unknown

Very nice, Isabelle. I like the readability, the imagery, and rythmn of this.
 — boothben

 — unknown

Impressive narrative. It's certainly original and you've achieved a stark originality and made something quite unsettling very peaceful. All of stza 2/3 and the 1st 2 lines of 4 are excellent, I would be proud.

I urge you to post this on other sites to get a wide consensus.

I loved it.

from Caducus
 — unknown

 — Caducus

 — unknown

I'm chicken. You post it for me and tell me what happens, how about that? I'm glad you all liked it. If you ever get to actually eat at the restaurant, you'll really like it!
 — Isabelle5

this is my favorite thing that you've written so far. i like it so much, i'm going to back into my cave to simultanously laugh/cry/molt/howl/shiver and make love to a sock monkey. you are my favorite christmas sweater!
 — onklcrispy

omg i love greenfields! they have like the best quail ever! well the only place i've had ever... anyways yeah just though it was cool that somone else has been there besides me.

the blue butterflies are my fave. :)
 — BlueNymph

It's Caducus, for some reason i can no longer sign in ? can you help please mate
 — unknown

Isabelle, I enjoy the imagery of this poem, but it ends a little flatly. The last stanza has no purpose if not to take some moral stance on the situation--when none is taken, and it just...ends, it's slightly disappointing.
 — Egg

Your poetry sucks....Because of you I will no longer visit this site and no longer look for any type of poem on the Internet. That you Isabelle for wasting my time. Oh and you are wasting your time trying to make it as a poet.
 — unknown

This is great! I give it a 9. The only thing I felt missing was more discription of the butterflies which you talk about. Actually the only way I knew it was butterflies you were talk about is from your introduction.  At first I thought Mariposas was a type of butterfly but when I looked it up I can only find that it is a type of flower. Therefore, the only referece that comes close to butterfly is L 11, which fragile wings can mean even a bird or fly.  This could be nit picky on my part and correct me if I am wrong about Mariposas.  I still really liked this a lot. I have just learned that a poem should expalin itself and its contents without having to add an explination of what it is talking about :). Please do keep writing, I look forward to reading more of your work.
 — unknown

"Mariposa" means "butterfly" in Latin, or at least it's one of the terms. It crops up in varying degrees in the romance languages, most notably in Mexican and Argentinian Spanish, though you find it in Cataluñan and Gascogne and even in Switzerland's southern cantons. "Mariposas" is just Isabelle creating an Anglo plural to a Romance noun.

Isabelle, I am impressed with this poem. I really like the feel and the message. However, the format and structure are still a little weak. Your ll22-23 really threw me out of your world, which is probably an appropriate reaction for a poet to inspire on this topic. Nevertheless, there must be a more soothing way to state the meaning of those lines. Perhaps if you removed "legislation" and "illegal", replacing them with words more in the character of the piece, we could fully enjoy the experience.

Here's another thought: play with the verb tenses even more. Right now the motion is fair and somewhat involving. These well-constructed lines could be charming and gripping with slightly different verb tenses. The present participle seems the most appealing of all, though it could be any of several. For example:
"While you are eating Brazilian
sipping California wine,
you can watch the mariposas,
reciting their Latin names."

Your use of the second person throughout is really a personal touch, and I love it. It's like I'm the one trying to eat dinner with you and barely stomaching it for the thought of all those poor pretty butterflies who were killed for art, who would have died anyways in the winter's chill.
 — zepplin42

zepplin42 thank you for correcting me and making it clear what mariposas are. I suppose I should have researched the word more before making the comment. We learn something new everyday (at least I hope I do).  Still great piece here.
 — unknown

i like this, but the last stanza i thought was a bit weird. esp line 22, it just doesnt fit in with the "prettiness" of the rest of the poem.  Also the last line is reminding me of the soup nazi in Seinfeld.
 — mightyjoe

wow u have a great vocabulary ,or the pations to look up sinonims, but ur realy good , wish i could get the great words and still have it "flow" like ur poems
 — unknown

i like butterflies. when we were kids, there werent many where we lived, so we caught moths instead and put them in butter tubs with glad wrap over the top and poked holes in them. its funny how nobody cares about the tarantualas, i think theyre from brazil too, they are hell endangered but it doesnt matter coz theyre ugly. i love butterflies. sorry, i digress.

i love the descriptions of this, i especially love the second last stanza. i think it captures the spirit of butterflies perfectly. just one thing though, i think irridescent (one r or two?) is better in the second last stanza than the second line. im not sure if you noticed that you used it twice, and such a conspicuous word is extremely noticeable.
 — wendz

Very good ,a moth in the flame of human pointless stupidly callous brutality to the things of this earth.
 — larrylark

I haven't read this because of the intro.  Why can't folks write poems that stand alone, speak for themselves without crutches or unnecessary baggage.  If you think the intro stuff is so important then surely you could incorporate its essence into the poem.
 — unknown

The intro this time is important to set the tone of the piece and to explain where it came from.  Usually, I don't like intros.  Read the poem anyway, then decide if the introduction helped or not.  Heck, go to the restaurant and you might want to write your own poem to butterflies or heaps of meat!
 — Isabelle5

Very beautiful. I captured another meaning within my imagination, but thats the beauty of poetry.
 — unknown

Such a good poem - hits the mark in every way
 — opal

i've read this so many times, and it was in my favourites for a bit, but i don't think i ever commented on this.

i love this heaps, it's so bittersweet, it's strange how people do these inhuman things.

the length of the stanzas are a bit funky with the inconsistance
 — Lia

  Isabel I really liked your poem but I would like to tell you that brazilians get offendedwhen you think we speak spanish mariposa is butterfly inspanish but in portuguese it is borboleta like i said this is really good poetry but please be politically correct about my homeland next time
ps where is the restaurant?
 — unknown

Well, I didn't know any other Hispanic word than mariposa!  Thanks for this, not sure if fixing it here will help the United Nations but I do appreciate this.  I was only thinking of the restaurant, not Brazil itself, except as a safe haven for these lovely creatures.

There are restaruants in several large cities in the United States.  The one I go to is in Long Beach.
 — Isabelle5

Curious - what do Brazilians speak?  I thought almost all Latin American countries spoke a form of Spanish.  (and I am ignorant of geography perhaps - isn't Brazil Latin American/South American?)
 — Isabelle5

I did enjoy the pretty pictures, so cold and sweet, I just wish that there woz more, I dunno, like, meat.
 — Roz

HAHAHAHA!  Great comment poem, Roz!  You should all try to go.
 — Isabelle5

beautiful.... i like it
 — modioperandi

Portuguese is spoken in Brazil. I can't imagine anyone not knowing that.
 — unknown

Overall I like the poem, here’s what I have to offer as a critique:
1st Stanza, I’d prefer it not to use ‘iridescent’ (partly because it’s used again in L21), rather something liked ‘winged beauties’
Also it would be nice to refer in some way to the frame providing a glimpse (like a window or portal) into the Amazon.
L9 mariposas isn’t capitalized, yet it is in L20
I don’t like L17 – I can’t really pinpoint why other than the word stink
L18 however is a corker
L22 & 23 go very formal perhaps something like this?
‘Unaware of their freedom
(now guaranteed in words)
so enjoy….. ‘
The intro is good it sets up an unusual topic nicely sets the scene for the poem.

We have three Brazilian style restraints here in Singapore, and eat at them regularly – it’s a fantastic way to dine (especially if your doing Atkins!!  :o)
 — hobby

This is great. Line 15 is also great.
  Good poem.
 — Hear

Hey, here I am!  What a surprise.  I need to go eat there again!
 — Isabelle5

First line is the worst i have ever seen.  I used to save my spit in grade school from first bell ring until recess.  That line give me a worse sensation.  

6-7 would be better as "barbie-q".  

I didn't know what mariposas meant before i read this poem, and, having looked it up, want to die.  What the hell are you talking about.  I hope i'm making an ass of myself.

I give up on this one.
 — yeesher

This is beautiful.

I'm going to share this with my friend, who's vegan and would definitely appreciate it.

Oh, and I have come to the conclusion that you are the Empress of this place. I bow before you. : )
 — mannequill

Wow, thank you.  (Not Empress, Goddess!)

It's a joke, by the way, not a sign of a huge ego!  
 — Isabelle5

very impressive. suck you into a delicious meal and juxtapose images colour(y carne).  I would make the last stanza a stronger coffee by deepening the detail of the image...what is legislation, was the guy wearing a top hat when he wrote the law?

Great poem
 — docdocdoc

So...this poem drops in and out of trochaic tetrameter (Hiawatha-meter, that is), which is very slightly distracting. If you could get more of it to fit in, that might be more awesome, just because it's such an evocative meter. The last stanza could also be tightened up a bit, it lacks the immediacy of the others -- I don't mind the word "legislation" especially as it fits the meters, but the last two lines are a bit too unremarkable.

Other than that -- really very good stuff. Especially 11-18 are super awesome descriptions, I particularly liked the sweet fat and the flies singing rhapsodies.
 — septima_pica

New legislation is the law in Brazil making it illegal to net and especially to export butterflies or their wings.

I'm done editing this, though.  It's quite old enough and settled in its ways, as am I.

 — Isabelle5

Un poema muy brillante de las mariposas que no vuelan porque estan colgando en las paredes de un restaurante!  Que triste, Isabela!
 — starr

I like your poem a lot, a whole lot, but I would tweak it just a little:

In warm Brazilian jungles,  19
the little mariposas,  20
flit past on iridescent wings of blue   21

heedless of legislation  22
that makes their capture illegal;  23
Enjoy all the pretty pictures.  24
There will be no more for you.  25

Just my humble opinion. I think is sounds less passive with the changes and using the word capture instead of netting makes it sound more ominious.  What do you think?

Now for a word on the subject: I can't equate the destruction of a living thing for the sake of art with the killing of a living thing for food.

So for that reason, although I hunt and fish, I never take trophies and my husband and I only hunt until we have filled the freezer for the year. I admit I get a thrill when taking an animal, but I eat the animal and often use the antler and skins for useful articles.  I would approve of using antler and other animal products for artistic purposes IF it is a by product of the taking of the animal for food.  Could never condone hanging a trophy on the wall though.  So I never go for trophy bucks or even bass.

But think of all the awful things done to animals in the name of food now-a-days.  What about veal and fois gras?  More people should know how to feed themselves.  If you had to kill your chickens, gut your fish, and butcher your meat, you would have a new appreciation for the lives of animals.  

Going to fast food places or even most restaurants makes me sick. When I look at the food on my plate at home, I know what the animal's life was like and what I took away from it and what it is giving me.  It is easy to give thanks for my meat when I have obtained it myself.  

Just like my native american ancestors, I thank the animal for giving its life to me.

So I made all these comments and then read all the comments that have been posted and I see that you are satisfied with the poem. As you should be. It is good.

 — violet

Violet, thank you for all of that!  I am 'done' with the poem, it's old and hardened now but I appreciate your concerns.

If I had to hunt my food and kill it to eat, I would be a vegetarian.  I make a point not to eat veal or fois gras, as I know how they are obtained.  I have read books about animal factories and it is indeed sickening but on the other hand, we humans must eat to live.  I commend those who hunt their meat but I do not condemn those of us who do not have the stomach, literally, to look our meal in the face and take its life.  Many people in my family do it - they eat deer and rabbit and fish they catch.  I like my meat fresh from the meat counter, minus scales and fur!

 — Isabelle5

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