|Blue Morpho butterfly|
Last night my students wrote a response to the poem The Wheelchair Butterfly by James Tate. One student rewrote the poem in his own words:
O resting city of brake-locked, beside the bed wheelchairs
where mice occasionally fall past the point of survival
if he really wants to
he can overhear humans talking about it
in this perpetually sunless town
the girl who is expecting
and resembles an avocado in shape
rides her personalized new-age bicentennial transport
the wrong way against gravity in a vertical hallway
of the quiet garage
yesterday was warm. today is doing weird things to wildlife
at inopportune times; causing bad combinations of
child and fragile toy
O cocky city where
where people are less venomous,
but their sight hasnt improved
in an amber house of imagination,
we wait in our mental annex’s for a new day
as if we wait for cool and cold
mustangs outside of town.
talented religious persons using their talents for unappreciative, small audiences.
bluebell says: gravity still works in water?
the mayor wont
be mayor much longer! metaphor about weeds and fireworks:
beware I dont make sense!
doesnt make sense!
doesnt make sense!
|James Tate (born 1943)|
The Wheelchair Butterfly
O sleepy city of reeling wheelchairs
where a mouse can commit suicide if he can
concentrate long enough
on the history book of rodents
in this underground town
of electrical wheelchairs!
The girl who is always pregnant and bruised
like a pear
rides her many-stickered bicycle
backward up the staircase
of the abandoned trolleybarn.
Yesterday was warm. Today a butterfly froze
in midair; and was plucked like a grape
by a child who swore he could take care
of it. O confident city where
the seeds of poppies pass for carfare,
where the ordinary hornets in a human’s heart
may slumber and snore, where bifocals bulge
in an orange garage of daydreams,
we wait in our loose attics for a new season
as if for an ice-cream truck.
An Indian pony crosses the plains
whispering Sanskrit prayers to a crater of fleas.
Honeysuckle says: I thought I could swim.
The Mayor is urinating on the wrong side
of the street! A dandelion sends off sparks:
beware your hair is locked!
Beware the trumpet wants a glass of water!
Beware a velvet tabernacle!
Beware the Warden of Light has married
an old piece of string!
by James Tate