When Children Speak

A yellow eastern tiger

swallowtail just fluttered a shy wave.

The first this season, the sighting

plunged me back into high school.

My brothers constructed glossy pine

boxes and stuck careful deadly pins

through the tender thoraxes

of lepidoptera:  a great spangled fritillary,

a painted lady, an American copper.

I had enthusiastically pointed them out;

I learned to play much more quietly

in the wood-like setting of my backyard.

I took this moth massacre personally.

In fact, I decided that I was not compatible

with these death seekers.  When my time

came, I approached the biology teacher

and adamantly refused to take part.

I offered photographs, even my brothers’

macabre collections instead;

even so I took home my very first “F”.

Proudly, sitting quietly in the butterfly garden

while my mystified family wondered

how I could have passed up the chance

for an easy “A”.  And now you tell me that

children are going to court over matters

that I couldn’t see, in my desperation

to belong to the rigid systems intent

on wiping out my connections.

I thought I was daring. My instructor

said I was crazy. And yet

I felt it, in that deep heart-

space.  Now I want to proclaim

to every child

— especially the one you hide inside:

rise up, speak out against so-called

sanity while you can.  Change your own label

before we all end up in flames

or termite-laden pine boxes,

our destination either way.


Inspired by: Compatible, Loath, Setting, Play

The featured image was taken 12 years ago in my butterfly garden.  I haven’t seen any Monarchs this season.



Published by

Victoria Stuart

I'm a poet, philosopher and inner seeker. A giver, lover and a healer who studies the heart.

4 thoughts on “When Children Speak”

  1. It wasn’t right for you to be punished with a bad grade for living your conscience. I’m glad you could see even then that killing for gratuitous reasons was wrong. We, as a species, are heading down a deadly path ourselves.
    We aren’t on a major migratory path for monarchs, but I’ve been seeing quite a few this year. We have a lot of milkweed, so maybe they are seeking new routes.

    Liked by 1 person

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