this moment between

dead brown leaf

and butterfly


Earl Livings (1953- ). Excerpt from “Shamrock”, number 35, 2016.

In autumn, the dead brown leaves abound and we generally do not stop to look at them closely. This one, however, caught the poet’s attention! Maybe it was bigger, stronger, a different color? Perhaps he looked like the epitome of a dead brown leaf, a perfect example that the poet felt he had to observe to understand what it means to be a dead brown leaf in this world? In any case, the poet concentrates on the leaf, moves closer and observes it attentively when suddenly there is a moment — a realization that it is not a leaf at all but rather a camouflaged butterfly! Perhaps it moved or even flew away, but there was a moment in the poet’s consciousness when the butterfly was neither a leaf nor a butterfly but both at the same time. Only observation made him become one of them (in this case a butterfly), just as it does with Schrödinger’s famous cat of fame.

Selected and commented by Dhugal J. Lindsay


Pique your poetic interest with more haiku in English here.