61 Captivating Butterfly Poems: An Image of Beauty

Butterflies are one of the most enchanting and captivating creatures in the natural world.

With their vibrant colors and graceful flight, they have inspired countless poets throughout history.

Butterfly poems evoke images of beauty, transformation, and freedom, and offer a window into the mysteries of nature.

In this article, we will explore the many different ways that poets have captured the essence of butterflies in butterfly poems, from short and sweet verses to longer explorations of the butterfly’s symbolic power.

Let’s enjoy these poetries about butterflies!

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Beautiful Butterfly Poems

Butterflies have long been associated with beauty, and poets have used their graceful form as a source of inspiration. Beautiful poems about butterflies capture the magic and allure of these creatures and offer a glimpse into their captivating world.

1. The Genesis of Butterflies

       by Victor Hugo

The dawn is smiling on the dew that covers
The tearful roses; lo, the little lovers
That kiss the buds, and all the flutterings
In jasmine bloom, and privet, of white wings,
That go and come, and fly, and peep and hide,
With muffled music, murmured far and wide!
Ah, Spring time, when we think of all the lays
That dreamy lovers send to dreamy mays,
Of the fond hearts within a billet bound,
Of all the soft silk paper that pens wound,
The messages of love that mortals write
Filled with intoxication of delight,
Written in April, and before the May time
Shredded and flown, play things for the wind’s play-time,
We dream that all white butterflies above,
Who seek through clouds or waters souls to love,
And leave their lady mistress in despair,
To flit to flowers, as kinder and more fair,
Are but torn love-letters, that through the skies
Flutter, and float, and change to Butterflies.

2. The Ways of Time

       by William H. Davies

As butterflies are but winged flowers,
Half sorry for their change, who fain,
So still and long they live on leaves,
Would be thought flowers again.—

E’en so my thoughts, that should expand,
And grow to higher themes above,
Return like butterflies to lie
On the old things I love.

3. In Memory’s Garden

       by Thomas Walsh

There is a garden in the twilight lands
Of Memory, where troops of butterflies
Flutter adown the cypress paths, and bands
Of flowers mysterious droop their drowsy eyes.

There through the silken hush come footfalls faint
And hurried through the vague parterres, and sighs
Whispering of rapture or of sweet complaint
Like ceaseless parle of bees and butterflies.

And by one lonely pathway steal I soon
To find the flowerings of the old delight
Our hearts together knew—when lo, the moon
Turns all the cypress alleys into white.

4. Bellerophon IV

       by James Russell Lowell

Of Knowledge Love is master-key,
Knowledge of Beauty; passing dear
Is each to each, and mutually
Each one doth make the other clear;
Beauty is Love, and what we love
Straightway is beautiful,
So is the circle round and full,
And so dear Love doth live and move
And have his being,
Finding his proper food
By sure inseeing,
In all things pure and good,
Which he at will doth cull,
Like a joyous butterfly
Hiving in the sunny bowers
Of the soul’s fairest flowers,
Or, between the earth and sky,
Wandering at liberty
For happy, happy hours!

5. Butterfly on Wild Flower Meadow.

       by Edward Burrough Brownlow

Bright little butterfly, mounting at morning
Over Love’s garden of sweet delight,
Heedless of harm and the honey-bee’s warning,
Bent upon pleasure, in pains despite.
Gaily thou flutterest, gaudily flaunting
All thy fair charms to the winds that kiss
Like a soul in elysian happiness haunting
New meadows of bliss.

When the first grey beam of the dawn uplifting
Shadows of sleep from a world of dreams,
From sea-marge to mountain and meadow-land drifting,
Lighted at last on thy wings’ bright gleams
Kissed thee and waked thee and whispered thee hasten
To herald the sun where it might not smite
In the deeps of dark dells where white flowers wasten
And languish for light.

Thou hast bathed in the sun-flashing spray that arises
From ripples that laugh on the brook’s fair face,
Thou hast gazed in the mirror that Nature devises
For Beauty’s delight in her own sweet grace,
Thou hast basked in the heat of the noon-tide splendour
When cricket piped high in the grass beneath,
And the blossoms that carried thy burden so tender
Were crowned with a wreath.

The lily grew pale for thou passed its perfection,
The violet bowed in a passion of grief,
The daisy had hope of thy gracious election,
The blue-bell despaired of its heart’s relief,
The hyacinth spread all its beauties before thee,
The marjoram blushed as it caught thine eye,
The mignonette flung its sweet fragrance o’er thee—
But thou passed them by.

Light was thy heart and the pleasures thou scattered
Were pure as the flowers on which they fell,
Till the red rose sought thee and caught thee and flattered,
With promise of love thou hast known too well.
All the long hours till the low sun glamoured
The bright blushing petals to kiss and to toy,
Thou paused in thy flight, for thy heart enamoured
Drank deeply of joy.

The blossoms that drooped in the dark and were sighing
For tidings of light thou wert bidden to tell
Lay down in despair, dreading death, and yet dying
And great was the grief in deeps of the dell,
For thou hadst forgotten the message of morning
And the work of the day thou wast given to do,
For the love of the rose and the honey-bee’s scorning
For thy love was true.

Poor little butterfly! dying so sadly
At the rise of the moon o’er the ripe-gold grain;
Dost thou rue of the pleasure thou tasted so madly,
Would’st thou take back thy love to take life again?
Ah, no! Love is sweeter and meeter than duty,
And shall hold thee in joy till thy last breath beats,
Till thou liest at rest—a dead marvel of beauty
Surrounded by sweets.

6. The Empaled Butterfly

       by Hannah Flagg Gould

“Ho!” said a butterfly, “here am I,
Up in the air, who used to lie
Flat on the ground, for the passers by
To treat with utter neglect!
None will suspect that I am the same
With a bright, new coat, and a different name;
The piece of nothingness whence I came,
In me they’ll never detect.
“That horrible night of the chrysalis,
That brought me at length to a day like this,
In the form of beauty—a state of bliss,
Was little enough to give
For freedom to range from bower to bower,
To flirt with the buds and flatter the flower,
And shine in the sunbeams hour by hour,
The envy of all that live.
“This is a world of curious things,
Where those who crawl and those that have wings
Are ranked in the classes of beggars and kings;
No matter how much the worth
May be on the side of those who creep,
Where the vain, the light, and the bold will sweep
Others from notice, and proudly keep
Uppermost on the earth!
“Many a one that has loathed the sight
Of the piteous worm, will take delight
In welcoming me, as I look so bright
In my new and beautiful dress.
But some I shall pass with a scornful glance,
Some with elegant nonchalance,
And others will woo me, till I advance
To give them a slight caress.”
“Ha!” said the pin, “you are just the one
Through which I’m commissioned, at once, to run
From back to breast, till, your fluttering done,
Your form may be fairly shown.
And when my point shall have reached your heart,
‘T will be like a balm to the wounded part,
To think how you will be copied by art,
And your beauty will all be known!”

7. No Go

       by John B. Tabb

Said a simpering Butterfly, sipping a rose,
To a graceless Mosquito on grandpapa’s nose,
Whom she hoped to entrap,
“Pray come, Sir, and taste of this delicate stuff.”
“Thanks, Madam, I’m just now taking my snuff,”
Quoth the impudent chap.

8. Butterfly Adventure

       by Hilda Conkling

I saw a butterfly
Dark-brown and dusty
Like a plain traveler.
But when the sun shone on him
He wore sapphire-blue and opal
And winking half-moons of gold powder. . .
All the brown vanished away!
How could I know
He was iridescent?
Nature seems to hide
When you look at her with sleepy eyes,
But with eyes wide-open in the open light
You see her shine to all the colors
Of the sun.

9. The Butterfly

       by Lydia Howard Sigourney

A butterfly bask’d on a baby’s grave,
Where a lily had chanced to grow:
“Why art thou here, with thy gaudy die,
When she of the blue and sparkling eye,
Must sleep in the churchyard low?”
Then it lightly soar’d through the sunny air,
And spoke from its shining track:
“I was a worm till I won my wings,
And she whom thou mourn’st like a seraph sings:
Wouldst thou call the bless’d one back?”

10. Butterflies

       by Ruby Archer

A purple haze hangs hotly o’er the hills;
The bees’ low chant falls murmuring on the ear;
Bright butterflies flit by, now far, now near,
Yielding to gay caprice their fickle wills.
Their rainbow hues are yet bedewed with morn.
On wings all jewel-decked they move elate,
A beamy brilliancy irradiate,
Winding a wavy path unknown of thorn.
They find the chalice of the trumpet-vine;
And fold their wings of gossamer; alight,
Sipping a moment as a fairy might;
Then soft away, in quest of sweeter wine.
And thus they win the balm of every flower,
Wantonly gypsying in revelry—
Not burden-bearing like the groaning bee—
Bacchantes all—their life a golden hour.

11. A Little Wind

       by Elizabeth Madox Roberts

When I lay down
In a clover place,
With eyelids closed,
In a clover place,
A little wind came to my face.
One gentle wind
Blew on my mouth,
And I said, “It will quiver by.
What little wind now can it be?”
And I lay still
Where the clovers were.
But when I raised my lids to see,
Then it was a butterfly.

12. The Captive Butterfly

       by Hannah Flagg Gould

Good morning, pretty Butterfly!
How have you passed the night?
I hope you’re gay and glad as I
To see the morning light.
But, little silent one, methinks
You’re in a sober mood.
I wonder if you’d like to drink,
And what you take for food.
I shut you in my crystal cup
To let your winglets rest.
And now I want to hold you up,
To see your velvet vest.
I want to count your tiny toes,
To find your breathing-place,
And touch the downy horn that grows
Each side your pretty face.
I’d like to see just how you’re made,
With streaks and spots and rings;
And wish you’d show me how you played
Your shining, rainbow wings.
”T was not,’ the little prisoner said,
‘For want of food or drink,
That, while you slumbered on your bed,
I could not sleep a wink.
‘My wings are pained for want of flight,
My lungs, for want of air.
In bitterness I’ve passed the night,
And meet the morning’s glare.
‘When looking through my prison wall,
So close and yet so clear,
I see there’s freedom there for all,
While I’m a captive here.
‘I’ve stood upon my feeble feet
Until they’re full of pain.
I know that liberty is sweet,
Which I cannot regain.
‘Do I deserve a fate like this,
Who’ve ever acted well,
Since first I left the chrysalis,
And fluttered from my shell?
‘I’ve never injured fruit, or flower,
Or man, or bird, or beast;
And such a one should have the power
Of going free, at least.
‘And now, if you will let me quit
My prison-house, the cup,
I’ll show you how I sport and flit,
And make my wings go up!’
The lid was raised; the prisoner said,
‘Behold my airy play!’
Then quickly on the wing he fled
Away, away, away!
From flower to flower he gaily flew,
To cool his aching feet
And slake his thirst with morning dew,
Where liberty was sweet.

13. Butterflies

       by Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts

Once in a garden, when the thrush’s song,
Pealing at morn, made holy all the air,
Till earth was healed of many an ancient wrong,
And life appeared another name for prayer,
Rose suddenly a swarm of butterflies,
On wings of white and gold and azure fire;
And one said, “These are flowers that seek the skies,
Loosed by the spell of their supreme desire.”

14. The Soul of a Butterfly

       by Thomas Wentworth Higginson

Over the field where the brown quails whistle,
Over the ferns where the rabbits lie,
Floats the tremulous down of a thistle.
Is it the soul of a butterfly?
See! how they scatter and then assemble;
Filling the air while the blossoms fade,—
Delicate atoms, that whirl and tremble
In the slanting sunlight that skirts the glade.
There goes the summer’s inconstant lover,
Drifting and wandering, faint and far;
Only bewailed by the upland plover,
Watched by only the twilight star.
Come next August, when thistles blossom,
See how each is alive with wings!
Butterflies seek their souls in its bosom,
Changed thenceforth to immortal things.

15. Milkweed

       by Helen Hunt Jackson

O, patient creature with a peasant face,
Burnt by the summer sun, begrimed with stains,
And standing humbly in the dusty lanes!
There seems a mystery in thy work and place,
Which crowns thee with significance and grace;
Whose is the milk that fills thy faithful veins?
What royal nursling comes at night and drains
Unscorned the food of the plebeian race?
By day I mark no living thing which rests
On thee save butterflies of gold and brown,
Who turn from flowers that are more fair, more sweet,
And crowding eagerly sink fluttering down
And hang, like jewels flashing in the heat,
Upon thy splendid rounded purple breasts.

16. Butterflies

       by Anonymous

Two golden butterflies, hither, thither flying,
Zig-zag and round about, every blossom trying;
Flitting now together, now awhile they sever;
Pretty golden butterflies, will you play forever?
My little Goldenhair, almost like a fairy,
Rivals the butterflies in their flittings airy;
All their flying follows, through the nodding daisies,
Still cannot catch them in their pretty mazes.
Dear Golden-butterfly, through the meadow dancing,
With your flying tangled curls in the sunshine glancing,
Keep time with the butterflies, gold-winged, moving ever,—
Play on, all three dearies! Your now is forever.
Little know the butterflies of what comes to-morrow,
Little knows my Butterfly of a thought of sorrow.
God sees that each childhood has its time of daisies
And of golden butterflies in their pretty mazes.

Famous Butterfly Poems

From William Wordsworth’s “To a Butterfly” to Emily Dickinson’s “The Butterfly’s Assumption Gown,” famous poets have long been drawn to the butterfly as a subject. These famous poems about butterflies offer a glimpse into the creative minds of some of the greatest writers of all time.

1. The Butterfly’s Day

       by Emily Dickinson

From cocoon forth a butterfly
As lady from her door
Emerged — a summer afternoon —
Repairing everywhere,

Without design, that I could trace,
Except to stray abroad
On miscellaneous enterprise
The clovers understood.

Her pretty parasol was seen
Contracting in a field
Where men made hay, then struggling hard
With an opposing cloud,

Where parties, phantom as herself,
To Nowhere seemed to go
In purposeless circumference,
As ‘t were a tropic show.

And notwithstanding bee that worked,
And flower that zealous blew,
This audience of idleness
Disdained them, from the sky,

Till sundown crept, a steady tide,
And men that made the hay,
And afternoon, and butterfly,
Extinguished in its sea.

2. To a Butterfly

       by William Wordsworth

I’ve watched you now a full half-hour;
Self-poised upon that yellow flower
And, little Butterfly! indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless! not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again!

This plot of orchard-ground is ours;
My trees they are, my Sister’s flowers;
Here rest your wings when they are weary;
Here lodge as in a sanctuary!
Come often to us, fear no wrong;
Sit near us on the bough!
We’ll talk of sunshine and of song,
And summer days, when we were young;
Sweet childish days, that were as long
As twenty days are now.

3. Butterflies

       by Rudyard Kipling

Eyes aloft, over dangerous places,
The children follow the butterflies,
And, in the sweat of their upturned faces,
Slash with a net at the empty skies.

So it goes they fall amid brambles,
And sting their toes on the nettle-tops,
Till, after a thousand scratches and scrambles,
They wipe their brows and the hunting stops.

Then to quiet them comes their father
And stills the riot of pain and grief,
Saying, “Little ones, go and gather
Out of my garden a cabbage-leaf.

“You will find on it whorls and clots of
Dull grey eggs that, properly fed,
Turn, by way of the worm, to lots of
Glorious butterflies raised from the dead.”

“Heaven is beautiful, Earth is ugly,”
The three-dimensioned preacher saith;
So we must not look where the snail and the slug lie
For Psyche’s birth…. And that is our death!

Colorful butterfly amidst field flowers.

4. Quest

       by Clark Ashton Smith

All beneath a wintering sky
Follow the wastrel butterfly;
With vermilion leaf or bronze—
Tatters of gorgeous gonfalons—
With the winds that always hold
Echo of clarions lost and old,—
We must hasten, hasten on
Tow’rd the azure world withdrawn,
We must wander, wander so
Where the ruining roses go;
Where the poplar’s pallid leaves
Drift among the gathered sheaves
In that harvest none shall glean;
Where the twisted willows lean
In their strange, tormented woe,
Seeing, on the streamlet’s flow
Half their fragile leaves depart;
Where the secret pines at heart,
High, funereal, vespertine,
Guard eternal sorrows green:—
We shall follow, we shall find,
Haply, ere the light is blind,
The moulded place where Beauty lay,
Moon-beheld until the day,
In the woven windlestrae;
Or the pool of tourmaline,
Rimmed with golden reeds, that was
In the dawn a tiring-glass
For her undelaying mien.

Ever wander, wander so,
Where the ruining roses go;
All beneath a wintering sky,
Follow the wastrel butterfly.

5. To a Butterfly

       by William Wordsworth

Stay near me—do not take thy flight!
A little longer stay in sight!
Much converse do I find in Thee,
Historian of my Infancy!
Float near me; do not yet depart!
Dead times revive in thee:
Thou bring’st, gay Creature as thou art!
A solemn image to my heart,
My Father’s Family!

Oh! pleasant, pleasant were the days,
The time, when in our childish plays
My sister Emmeline and I
Together chaced the Butterfly!
A very hunter did I rush
Upon the prey:—with leaps and springs
I follow’d on from brake to bush;
But She, God love her! feared to brush
The dust from off its wings.

Inspirational Butterfly Poems

The butterfly’s metamorphosis from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly is a powerful symbol of transformation and growth. These inspirational poems about butterflies capture this spirit of change and offer encouragement and hope in the face of adversity.

1. Easter

       by Joyce Kilmer

The air is like a butterfly
With frail blue wings.
The happy earth looks at the sky
And sings.

2. The Butterfly

       by Jane Taylor, Ann Taylor

The Butterfly, an idle thing,
Nor honey makes, nor yet can sing,
As do the bee and bird;
Nor does it, like the prudent ant,
Lay up the grain for times of want,
A wise and cautious hoard.

My youth is but a summer’s day:
Then like the bee and ant I’ll lay
A store of learning by;
And though from flower to flower I rove,
My stock of wisdom I’ll improve
Nor be a butterfly.

3. Butterfly Laughter

       by Katherine Mansfield

In the middle of our porridge plates
There was a blue butterfly painted
And each morning we tried who should reach the butterfly first.
Then the Grandmother said: “Do not eat the poor butterfly.”
That made us laugh.
Always she said it and always it started us laughing.
It seemed such a sweet little joke.
I was certain that one fine morning
The butterfly would fly out of the plates,
Laughing the teeniest laugh in the world,
And perch on the Grandmother’s lap.

4. Butterfly and Baby Blue

       by Julia C. R. (Caroline Ripley) Dorr

Butterfly and Baby Blue,
Did you come together
Floating down the summer skies,
In the summer weather?
Seems to me you’re much alike,
Airy, fairy creatures,
Though I small resemblance find
In your tiny features!

Butterfly has gauzy wings,
Bright with jewelled splendor;
Baby Blue has pink-white arms,
Rosy, warm, and tender.
Butterfly has golden rings,
Charming each beholder;
Baby wears a knot of blue
On each dimpled shoulder.

Butterfly is never still,
Always in a flutter;
And of dainty Baby Blue
The same truth I utter!
Butterfly on happy wing
In the sunshine dances;
Baby Blue for sunshine has
Mother’s smiles and glances!

Butterfly seeks honey-dew
In a lily palace;
Baby Blue finds nectar sweet
In a snow-white chalice.
Butterfly will furl its wings
When the air grows colder;
While dear Baby Blue will be
Just a trifle older!

Ah! the days are growing short,
Soon the birds will leave us,
And of all the garden flowers
Cruel frost bereave us.
Butterfly and Baby Blue,
Do not go together,
Sailing through the autumn skies
In the autumn weather!

Short Butterfly Poems

Sometimes, the simplest words can capture the essence of a creature. Short poetries about butterflies offer a way to express the magic of these creatures in just a few lines, often with a powerful punch.

1. Butterfly

       by John B. Tabb

Butterfly, Butterfly, sipping the sand,
Have you forgotten the flowers of the land?
Or are you so sated with honey and dew
That sand-filtered water tastes better to you?

2. Butterflies

       by Leigh Gordon Giltner

As if a bed of bloom had taken wing—
Bright marigolds, nasturtiums, zinnias gay—
They breast the breeze or, lightly poising, cling
To other flowers not animate as they.

3. The Butterfly

       by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The Butterfly the ancient Grecians made
The soul’s fair emblem, and its only name—
But of the soul, escaped the slavish trade
Of earthly life!—For in this mortal frame
Our’s is the reptile’s lot, much toil, much blame,
Manifold motions making little speed,
And to deform and kill the things whereon we feed.

4. Advice to a Butterfly

       by Maxwell Bodenheim

Aimless petal of the wind,
Spinning gently weird circles,
To the flowers underneath
You are a drunken king of motion;
To the plunging winds above
You are momentary indecision.
Aimless petal of the wind,
Waver carelessly against this June.
The universe, like you, is but
The drowsy arm of stillness
Spinning gently weird circles in his sleep.

5. Pair of Scrolls

       by Ho Shao-Chi

Shoals of fish assemble and scatter,
Suddenly there is no trace of them.

The single butterfly comes—
Returning as though urged by love.

6. The Butterfly and the Bee

       by William Lisle Bowles

Methought I heard a butterfly
Say to a labouring bee,
Thou hast no colours of the sky
On painted wings, like me.

Poor child of vanity! those dyes,
And colours bright and rare,
With mild reproof, the bee replies,
Are all beneath my care.

Content I toil from morn till eve,
And, scorning idleness,
To tribes of gawdy sloth I leave
The vanities of dress.

7. Cocoon

       by Emily Dickinson

Drab habitation of whom?
Tabernacle or tomb,
Or dome of worm,
Or porch of gnome,
Or some elf’s catacomb?

Long Butterfly Poems

For those seeking a more immersive experience, long poetries about butterflies can offer a deeper exploration of the beauty and mystery of these creatures. These poems can take readers on a journey through the landscape of butterflies, and offer a chance for reflection and introspection.

1. The Caterpillar

       by Hannah Flagg Gould

‘Don’t kill me!’ Caterpillar said,
As Charles had raised his heel
Upon the humble worm to tread,
As though it could not feel.
‘Don’t kill me!’ and I’ll crawl away
To hide awhile, and try
To come and look, another day,
More pleasing to your eye.
‘I know I’m now among the things
Uncomely to your sight;
But by and by on splendid wings
You’ll see me high and light!
‘And then, perhaps, you may be glad
To watch me on the flower;
And that you spared the worm you had
To-day within your power!’
Then Caterpillar went and hid
In some secreted place,
Where none could look on what he did
To change his form and face.
And by and by, when Charles had quite
Forgotten what I’ve told,
A Butterfly appeared in sight
Most beauteous to behold.
His shining wings were trimmed with gold,
And many a brilliant dye
Was laid upon their velvet fold,
To charm the gazing eye!
Then, near as prudence would allow,
To Charles’s ear he drew
And said, ‘You may not know me, now
My form and name are new!
‘But I’m the worm that once you raised
Your ready foot to kill!
For sparing me, I long have praised,
And love and praise you still.
‘The lowest reptile at your feet,
When power is not abused,
May prove the fruit of mercy sweet,
By being kindly used!’

2. A Diet of Worms

       by Anonymous

The caterpillars met one day,
And in a very solemn way
Discussed a point of great import
To all the caterpillar sort.
“Why, as it is,” one speaker said,
Up-stretching high a hoary head,
“So common is this new caprice
The wise call Metamorphosis,
The change of safe, old-fashioned ground
For silly flights on ways unsound,
That we must take wise measures soon,
Or all our race will be undone.”
Another spoke: “I like to know
That what one is, he’s settled so.
This crawling one day, winged the next,
What prudent worm is not perplexed?
With all these moody changes, who
Will know what form to fasten to?”
So after many long debates,
The wise assemnly formulates
Its judgment thus: “Whereas,” the good
Old ground whereon our fathers stood
Some upstarts are inclined to change
For loftier views and wider range,
Producing dangerous schism thus,
And constantly confusing us,
Be it Resolved, that henceforth we
Who now do covenant and agree,
Maintain ourselves inviolate
In good old caterpillar estate.
And hold as knavish, outcast things
Those rascal heretics with wings.”
This signed they all with pens that burned,
And then—and then—they all adjourned

3. The Butterfly’s Dream

       by Hannah Flagg Gould

A tulip, just opened, had offered to hold
A butterfly, gaudy and gay;
And, rocked in a cradle of crimson and gold,
The careless young slumberer lay.
For the butterfly slept, as such thoughtless ones will,
At ease, and reclining on flowers,
If ever they study, ‘t is how they may kill
The best of their mid-summer hours.
And the butterfly dreamed, as is often the case
With indolent lovers of change,
Who, keeping the body at ease in its place,
Give fancy permission to range.
He dreamed that he saw, what he could but despise,
The swarm from a neighbouring hive;
Which, having come out for their winter supplies,
Had made the whole garden alive.
He looked with disgust, as the proud often do,
On the diligent movements of those,
Who, keeping both present and future in view,
Improve every hour as it goes.
As the brisk little alchymists passed to and fro,
With anger the butterfly swelled;
And called them mechanics—a rabble too low
To come near the station he held.
“Away from my presence!” said he, in his sleep,
“Ye humble plebeians! nor dare
Come here with your colorless winglets to sweep
The king of this brilliant parterre!”
He thought, at these words, that together they flew,
And, facing about, made a stand;
And then, to a terrible army they grew,
And fenced him on every hand.
Like hosts of huge giants, his numberless foes
Seemed spreading to measureless size:
Their wings with a mighty expansion arose,
And stretched like a veil o’er the skies.
Their eyes seemed like little volcanoes, for fire,—
Their hum, to a cannon-peal grown,—
Farina to bullets was rolled in their ire,
And, he thought, hurled at him and his throne.
He tried to cry quarter! his voice would not sound
His head ached—his throne reeled and fell;
His enemy cheered, as he came to the ground,
And cried, “king Papilio, farewell!”
His fall chased the vision—the sleeper awoke,
The wonderful dream to expound;
The lightning’s bright flash from the thunder-cloud broke,
And hail-stones were rattling around.
He’d slumbered so long, that now, over his head,
The tempest’s artillery rolled;
The tulip was shattered—the whirl-blast had fled,
And borne off its crimson and gold.
‘T is said, for the fall and the pelting, combined
With suppressed ebullitions of pride,
This vain son of summer no balsam could find,
But he crept under covert and died.

4. Butterfly

       by Emily Dickinson

My cocoon tightens, colors tease,
I’m feeling for the air;
A dim capacity for wings
Degrades the dress I wear.

A power of butterfly must be
The aptitude to fly,
Meadows of majesty concedes
And easy sweeps of sky.

So I must baffle at the hint
And cipher at the sign,
And make much blunder, if at last
I take the clew divine.

5. The Butterfly

       by Alice Freeman Palmer

I hold you at last in my hand,
Exquisite child of the air.
Can I ever understand
How you grew to be so fair?
You came to my linden tree
To taste its delicious sweet,
I sitting here in the shadow and shine
Playing around its feet.
Now I hold you fast in my hand,
You marvelous butterfly,
Till you help me to understand
The eternal mystery.
From that creeping thing in the dust
To this shining bliss in the blue!
God give me courage to trust
I can break my chrysalis too!

6. The butterfly’s assumption-gown

       by Emily Dickinson

The butterfly’s assumption-gown,
In chrysoprase apartments hung,
This afternoon put on.
How condescending to descend,
And be of buttercups the friend
In a New England town!

Butterfly Poems That Rhyme

Rhyme can add a sense of musicality and structure to butterfly poems, while also drawing attention to the words themselves. Poems about butterflies with rhyme can create a sense of continuity and connection that can be captivating to readers of all ages.

1. Butterfly, Butterfly

       by Anonymous

Butterfly, butterfly, flutter around,
Butterfly, butterfly, touch the ground,
Butterfly, butterfly, fly so free,
Butterfly, butterfly, land on me!
Butterfly, butterfly, reach the sky,
Butterfly, butterfly, say goodbye!

2. Blue Butterfly

       by Anonymous

Butterfly, Butterfly, Where Do You Come?
Butterfly, butterfly,
Where do you come?
I know not, I ask not,
Nor ever had a home.

Butterfly, butterfly,
Where do you go?
Where the Sun shines,
And where the buds grow.

3. Five Little Butterflies

       by Anonymous

Five little butterflies on flowers galore,
One flew off, then there were four.
Four little butterflies among the sweet peas.
One flew off, then there were three.
Three little butterflies with nothing to do.
One flew off, then there were two.
Two little butterflies resting in the Sun,
One flew off, then there was one.
One little butterfly, now the only one,
She flew off, then there were none.

4. Pretty Butterfly

       by Anonymous

Butterfly, butterfly,
pretty, pretty butterfly.
Flying here and flying there,
flying everywhere.
When I see you flap your wings,
I know that it’s time for spring.
Butterfly, butterfly,
pretty butterfly.

Butterfly Poems for Kids

Butterflies have long been a favorite subject of children’s literature, and poems are no exception. Butterfly poems for children offer a way to introduce these magical creatures to young readers, and inspire a love of nature.

1. Butterfly, Lend Me Your Wings, I Pray

       by Annette Wynne

Butterfly, lend me your wings, I pray,
Lend me your wings for a golden day,
I would fly over the bush and tree,
Over the children that play with me.
The butterfly lent me his wings, but I
Stayed right on the ground- I could not fly;
My feet were heavy, my head would fall,
Butterfly, I cannot fly at all!
Butterfly, butterfly, take your wings,
I must go walking like other things,
Butterfly, take back your wings again,
And I shall run after you through the glen.

2. Butterfly

       by Paul Peterzell

How graceful,
Fluttering before me,
Butterfly lands,
Colorful as can be.
Adorning a rose petal,
Sun glistening so bright
A butterfly journey,
Seems like a rather quick flight.
Wing span so wide,
Resting as they do,
A treat to our senses,
A color fest does ensue.
Spotting a new one,
Blending with the tree,
A difficult task,
Sometimes hard to see.
A delight in the air,
Flying in pairs,
So glad I witnessed,
With so many wide stares.

3. The Butterfly

       by Margaret Rose

I know a little butterfly with tiny golden wings,
He plays among the summer flowers and up and down he swings,
He dances on their honey cups so happy all the day,
And then he spreads his tiny wings and softly flies away.

4. Life Like a Butterfly

       by Catherine Pulsifer

We look and see the butterfly
Its beauty seems to multiply
When the sun hits it wings
Amazing colors it does brings.
Oh how fun it would be
To be a butterfly so free
But what I do not see
Is the difficulties.
You see life is not easy
It is not all dreamy
The butterfly has struggles
In the cocoon, there can be trouble.
He must persevere to get out
It is up to him he has no clout
He must not give up
If so, he will not develop.
Just like the life we live
We must put life in perspective
We all face challenges we must overcome
And when we do, life is awesome!
So when you see the butterfly
Remember for life you must apply
The very best that you can be
And you will find life to be happy.

5. The Butterfly

       by Pavel Friedmann

The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzling yellow.
Perhaps if the sun’s tear would sing against a white stone.
Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly way up high
It went away I’m sure because it wished to
Kiss the world goodbye.
For seven weeks I’ve lived in here,
Penned up inside his ghetto
But I have found my people here
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut candles in the court
Only I saw another butterfly.
That butterfly was the last one,
Butterflies don’t live in here,
In the ghetto.

6. A Butterfly Talks

       by Annette Wynne

A butterfly talks to each flower
And stops to think and drink,
And I have seen one lightning
In a quiet spot to think,
For there are many things he sees that puzzle him, indeed,
And I believe he thinks as well as some who write and read.

7. Pretty Butterfly

       by Althea Randolph

Flitter, flutter, go your wings,
Pretty butterfly;
You will never play with me;
Won’t you tell me why?
If I had a pair of wings
On my back like you.
Do you think you’d love me more?
Tell me, is this true?

Butterfly Poems for Friends

Butterflies are often associated with friendship and loyalty, and butterfly poems can offer a way to express these sentiments. Poems for friends capture the spirit of connection and offer a way to celebrate the bonds we share.

1. An Irish Blessing

       by Anonymous

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun.
And find your shoulder to light on.
To bring you luck, happiness and riches.
Today, tomorrow and beyond.

2. Two Butterflies Went Out at Noon

       by Emily Dickinson

Two butterflies went out at noon
And waltzed above a stream,
Then stepped straight through the firmament
And rested on a beam;

And then together bore away
Upon a shining sea,
Though never yet, in any port,
Their coming mentioned be.

If spoken by the distant bird,
If met in ether sea
By frigate or by merchantman,
Report was not to me.

3. After Wings

       by Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt

This was your butterfly, you see,
His fine wings made him vain:
The caterpillars crawl, but he
Passed them in rich disdain.
My pretty boy says, “Let him be
Only a worm again!”

O child, when things have learned to wear
Wings once, they must be fain
To keep them always high and fair:
Think of the creeping pain
Which even a butterfly must bear
To be a worm again!

4. The Butterfly

       by Alice Archer (Sewall) James

I am not what I was yesterday,
God knows my name.
I am made in a smooth and beautiful way,
And full of flame.

The color of corn are my pretty wings,
My flower is blue.
I kiss its topmost pearl, it swings
And I swing too.

I dance above the tawny grass
In the sunny air,
So tantalized to have to pass
Love everywhere

O Earth, O Sky, you are mine to roam
In liberty.
I am the soul and I have no home,
Take care of me.

For double I drift through a double world
Of spirit and sense;
I and my symbol together whirled
From who knows whence?

There’s a tiny weed, God knows what good,—
It sits in the moss.
Its wings are heavy and spotted with blood
Across and across.

I sometimes settle a moment there,
And I am so sweet,
That what it lacks of the glad and fair
I fill complete.

The little white moon was once like me;
But her wings are one.
Or perhaps they closëd together be
As she swings in the sun.

When the clovers close their three green wings
Just as I do,
I creep to the primrose heart of things,
And close mine, too.

And then wide opens the candid night,
Serene and intense;
For she has, instead of love and light,
God’s confidence.

And I watch that other butterfly,
The one-winged moon,
Till, drunk with sweets in which I lie,
I dream and swoon.

And then when I to three days grow,
I find out pain.
For swift there comes an ache,—I know
That I am twain.

And nevermore can I be one
In liberty.
O Earth, O Sky, your use in done,
Take care of me.

5. The Example

       by William H. Davies

Here’s an example from
A Butterfly;
That on a rough, hard rock
Happy can lie;
Friendless and all alone
On this unsweetened stone.

Now let my bed be hard,
No care take I;
I’ll make my joy like this
Small Butterfly;
Whose happy heart has power
To make a stone a flower.

Butterfly Poems about Life

The butterfly’s life cycle is a powerful metaphor for the journey of life. Butterfly poems about life capture this sense of growth and transformation, and offer a way to reflect on our own experiences.

1. ‘Arcturus’ Is His Other Name

       by Emily Dickinson

‘Arcturus’ is his other name—
I’d rather call him ‘Star.’
It’s very mean of Science
To go and interfere!

I slew a worm the other day—
A ‘Savant’ passing by
Murmured ‘Resurgam’—’Centipede’!
‘Oh Lord—how frail are we’!

I pull a flower from the woods—
A monster with a glass
Computes the stamens in a breath—
And has her in a ‘class’!

Whereas I took the Butterfly
Aforetime in my hat—
He sits erect in ‘Cabinets’—
The Clover bells forgot.

What once was ‘Heaven’
Is ‘Zenith’ now—
Where I proposed to go
When Time’s brief masquerade was done
Is mapped and charted too.

What if the poles should frisk about
And stand upon their heads!
I hope I’m ready for ‘the worst’—
Whatever prank betides!

Perhaps the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’s’ changed—
I hope the ‘Children’ there Won’t be ‘new fashioned’ when I come—
And laugh at me—and stare—

I hope the Father in the skies
Will lift his little girl—
Old fashioned—naught—everything—
Over the stile of ‘Pearl.’

2. Beautiful Butterfly

       by Dr. Antony Theodore

In a beautiful butterfly,
Your face comes so true to me.

Through a pretty butterfly
You come flying so serene into me.

As the tiny wings flutter
I watch with love and joy
and wonder how it could be
that I see your face coming to me.

With beauty and grace
you perch among the flowers
as if searching for a special place.
Oh if I could only turn my heart
into a bed of flowers
for you to fly and hide
and secretly whisper to me
with fluttering wings how you love me.

Warm and kind is our friendship
so rare like a beautiful butterfly.

Welcome to my garden of happy thoughts
where butterflies fly along
the paths of lovely flowers.

You are so special in my life.
So innocent and pure is our friendship.
I care for you with a heart full of joy.
You are mine, I love you.

God, help me not to be possessive.
Love is freedom in true sense.
Possession is selfishness.
God, help me not to be possessive.

Butterfly Poems about Death

As symbols of transformation, butterflies have long been associated with death and rebirth. Poems about butterflies and death offer a way to explore the deeper mysteries of life and find meaning in the cycle of birth, growth, and transformation.

1. One Day Butterfly

       by Anonymous

Aren’t we all one-day butterflies,
not aware of time.
Searching for partners or honey
until Death kisses us.
Then in his arms, tenderly rocked,
waiting for a new chance
to fly away again
and join the dance
of the one-day butterfly

2. Transition

       by Jaquelyn Niel

In a land of plenty I was born,
That was when I began to consume.
At first, the amount was very small,
But my hunger increased as I grew,
My eyes saw only what was for me,
Not caring for others, never thinking deep,
In time all things came within my grasp,
But never enough, I could not sleep,
Something was missing, my search began,
So too my strange dreams I couldn’t ignore,
I dreamed I was flying through the air,
And didn’t need to consume any more,
In the end this stopped my appetite,
Then into a deathly sleep I fell,
Within the peace came new beginnings,
Transition to Heaven from my Hell,
With new eyes I saw the brightest dawn,
From my old body burst the new me,
I was slim, trim and lighter than air,
I lifted my wings and flew up free,
I saw down below our precious World.
Its beauty spoilt by the greedy few,
So love each other; Care for our Earth;
Your Butterfly Angel asks of you.

3. My little Mädchen

       by Mary Bradley

A curious something in her play,
That was not fruit, nor flower, nor seed;
It was not anything that grew,
Or crept, or climbed, or swam, or flew;
Had neither legs nor wings, indeed;
And yet she was not sure, she said,
Whether it was alive or dead.
She brought it in her tiny hand
To see if I would understand,
And wondered when I made reply,
“You’ve found a baby butterfly.”
“A butterfly is not like this,”
With doubtful look she answered me.
So then I told her what would be
Some day within the chrysalis;
How, slowly, in the dull brown thing
Now still as death, a spotted wing,
And then another, would unfold,
Till from the empty shell would fly
A pretty creature, by and by,
All radiant in blue and gold.
“And will it, truly?” questioned she—
Her laughing lips and eager eyes
All in a sparkle of surprise
“And shall your little Mädchen see?”
“She shall!” I said. How could I tell
That ere the worm within its shell
Its gauzy, splendid wings had spread,
My little Mädchen would be dead?
To-day the butterfly has flown,—
She was not here to see it fly,—
And sorrowing I wonder why
The empty shell is mine alone.
Perhaps the secret lies in this:
I too had found a chrysalis,
And Death that robbed me of delight
Was but the radiant creature’s flight!

4. Ode to A Butterfly

       by Thomas Higginson

Thou spark of life that wavest wings of gold,
Thou songless wanderer mid the songful birds,
With Nature’s secrets in thy tints unrolled
Through gorgeous cipher, past the reach of words,
Yet dear to every child
In glad pursuit beguiled,
Living his unspoiled days mid flowers and flocks and herds!
Thou winged blossom, liberated thing,
What secret tie binds thee to other flowers,
Still held within the garden’s fostering?
Will they too soar with the completed hours,
Take flight, and be like thee
Irrevocably free,
Hovering at will o’er their parental bowers?
Or is thy lustre drawn from heavenly hues,
A sumptuous drifting fragment of the sky,
Caught when the sunset its last glance imbues
With sudden splendor, and the tree-tops high
Grasp that swift blazonry,
Then lend those tints to thee,
On thee to float a few short hours, and die?
Birds have their nests; they rear their eager young,
And flit on errands all the livelong day;
Each field-mouse keeps the homestead whence it sprung;
But thou art Nature’s freeman,—free to stray Unfettered through the wood,
Seeking thine airy food,
The sweetness spiced on every blossomed spray.
The garden one wide banquet spreads for thee,
O daintiest reveler of the joyous earth!
One drop of honey gives satiety;
A second drought would drug thee past all mirth.
Thy feast no orgy shows;
Thy calm eyes never close,
Thou soberest sprite to which the sun gives birth.
And yet the soul of man upon thy wings
Forever soars in aspiration; thou
His emblem of the new career that springs
When death’s arrest bids all his spirit bow.
He seeks his hope in thee
Of immortality.
Symbol of life, me with such faith endow!

5. Mariposa

       by Edna Millay

Butterflies are white and blue
In this field we wander through.
Suffer me to take your hand.
Death comes in a day or two.
All the things we ever knew
Will be ashes in that hour,
Mark the transient butterfly,
How he hangs upon the flower.
Suffer me to take your hand.
Suffer me to cherish you,
Till the dawn is in the sky,
Whether I be false or true,
Death comes in a day or two.

Final Thoughts

In exploring the beauty and symbolism of butterflies through poetry, we gain a deeper appreciation for the mysteries of the natural world.

Whether capturing the essence of a butterfly’s grace and beauty or exploring its symbolic power to inspire growth and transformation, butterfly poems offer a way to connect with the magic of these creatures.

From short and sweet verses to longer explorations of the butterfly’s life cycle, there are poems for butterflies for every mood and occasion.

Ultimately, through the power of poetry, we can find inspiration, comfort, and hope in the fragile, fleeting beauty of the butterfly, and the enduring mysteries of nature.

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