christopher james

Poems and prattle

Month: August, 2014

The Butterfly Revolution

This was the year the butterflies left us,
when we discovered they had impersonated
every flower on Earth. They fluttered up
one morning like a reverse waterfall, a ribbon
of colour disappearing into the heavens.
They left us nothing but empty fields,
bare hedgerows. Lovers handed each other
stalks and leaves; bracken and shrubs.
At sunset, under indigo skies, we thought
they had settled on clouds; others believed
they were in the mountains of Tibet,
scattered like wild orchids on the summits.
We searched from space, scanning the colourless
Earth, the painful symmetry of continents.
We looked up to the Moon, the shades
of green and gold on the Ocean of Storms.
Then just as soon, they came back: a confetti
one day, a blizzard of wings that had us
rejoining in the streets; we threw carnivals,
fiestas, until the colour returned to our cheeks.
We revered them like gods in our hands,
lifting them gently from our windscreens.


The Cloud Collector

He keeps cirrus in the cellar,
stratocumulus stuffed like insulation in the loft.
Spare rooms billow with altostratus.
Outside, the sky is a cloudless blue.
He roams the hills with a Hoover and scoops
clouds from summits in butterfly nets,
bagging them on the quiet; he stitches
them into the lining of his jackets
presses them into the boot of his car.
Each summer, he rents a beach hut,
plain white, with yellow bunting hanging
above the door like a row of crows’ beaks.
He watches waves curl like rolling papers
and waits for the clouds to blow in from the sea.

 cromer collage