Butterfly Laughter

Butterfly perched on a flower.

Summer gardens, butterflies and sunshine bring back memories of childhood. Today, I have walked through a Vancouver urban garden with Katherine Mansfield and heard her poetic words recalling scenes from her childhood.

Thank you for enjoying a summer afternoon with me and Katherine Mansfield.

Entry to Summer Garden

Butterfly Laughter

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 our plates,
Laughing the teeniest laugh in the world,
And perch on the Grandmother’s lap.

Entry to summer garden

Katherine Mansfield Beauchamp was a New Zealander poet, essayist, short story writer, and journalist from the Modernist movement. Her writings explore complex issues that allow us to reflect upon the essentials of life. Her stories and poetry are celebrated across the world, and have been published in 25 languages.

What I did not know until today is that Katherine’s elder first cousin was Elizabeth von Arnim, the best-selling novelist who gave us the vibrant adventure of four women who travelled to Italy in her book, “The Enchanted April” (1922).

I am heading down another rabbit hole to find out more about the friendship between Katherine and Elizabeth.

Butterfly perched on a flower.

Published by Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

62 thoughts on “Butterfly Laughter

    1. Thank you for introducing me to Katherine Mansfield, Mandy. She writes exquisite poetry. Her thoughts on silence and deep listening is captured in this poem

      THE SECRET by Katherine Mansfield (written in 1912)

      In the profoundest ocean
      There is a rainbow shell,
      It is always there, shining most stilly
      Under the greatest storm waves
      And under the happy little waves
      That the old Greek called ‘ripples of laughter.’
      And you listen, the rainbow shell
      Sings—in the profoundest ocean.
      It is always there, singing most silently!

      Sending hugs along with my gratitude.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for your heartwarming comments and for joining me in a summer garden, Carolyn. I have come recently to Katherine Mansfield’s poetry and have enjoyed the exploration of how her poetry evolved over time. I continue to learn…

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m delighted that you joined Katherine and me in a summer garden. I become aware of Katherine Mansfield’s poetry a few years ago and I have yet to explore her stories/novels. The more I explore, the more I appreciated her creative endeavours.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Lovely post and poem, Rebecca!

    Literary connections — writers who were related, were friends, or had other ties — are fascinating. 🙂 I wasn’t aware of the one you cited. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I love trivia, Dave! And the serendipity that comes along with it. I had just been re-reading “Enchanted April” at the same time that I was reading Katherine Mansfield’s poetry. I have no idea that they were related. I found a book: Katherine Mansfield and Elizabeth von Arnim
      Edited by Gerri Kimber, Isobel Maddison, Todd Martin that explores “new research into the complex relationship between these writers has extended our understanding of the familial, personal and literary connections between these unlikely friends. We know that they were an influential presence on one another and reviewed each other’s work.” https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/book-katherine-mansfield-and-elizabeth-von-arnim.html Once it comes to a library near me, I will be checking it out!! I continue to learn….

      Liked by 3 people

    1. So do I, Shey. I just found the collection of Katherine Mansfield poems on Gutenberg press! https://www.gutenberg.org/files/59276/59276-h/59276-h.htm
      I especially appreciated these words which were in the forward which provided background on why she wrote her poems:

      “In her Journal, on January 22, 1916, Katherine Mansfield told her plans as her writer to her dead brother. She wanted to pay “a sacred debt” to her country, New Zealand, because “my brother and I were born there.” “Then,” she continued, “I want to write poetry.”

      “I feel always trembling on the brink of poetry,” she whispers to her brother. “The almond tree, the birds, the little wood where you are, the flowers you do not see, the open window out of which I lean and dream that you are against my shoulder, and the times that your photograph ‘looks sad.’ But especially I want to write a kind of long elegy to you … perhaps not in poetry. No, perhaps in prose. Almost certainly in a kind of special prose.””

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Sounds like an interesting rabbit hole adventure, Rebecca. Who knows what you may run into and how far you will get, maybe even come to pass thru these, our two gardens upper and lower levels, where we reside. Happy and safe journey, dear friend!

    Hope to see you and Don, one of these days, either here in Don’s once familiar area and or in Vancouver.

    Jean-Jacques

    >

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Many thanks for joining me in the virtual garden where butterflies dwell and dazzling colour reminds us that we live in a beautiful world. One day, I hope that we will share moments in a garden and share words of poetry.

      Space – we crave
      We crave
      From birth
      To grave,
      For space
      Shan’t soon
      Evaporate,
      Or set in gaze,
      That desolates
      In a fading wave!
      Jean Jacques Fournier, Poetry in Brief – a blissful silence.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Space – we crave – What a memory you have for digging up appropriate relevance, to other sometime quite different intentions in its origins. Thanks, Rebecca, for its life extension.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. One day, Liz, I know that there will be a way to slip through our computer screens and be on the other side of the world. How do I know this? Because I have read books that envision portals that open the universe. Imagine – no jet lag or airport layovers. Maybe not in our timeline, but what was written in books 200 years ago I have seen come to pass. While we wait for scientific discoveries to catch up with the imagination of writers, I am delighted that you traveled virtually to meet up Katherine and me in a summer garden.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Sylvia, for your heartwarming comments. Over the past two years, I have found that poetry has been a great way to start my day with a sense of wellbeing. Sending many hugs back your way.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you, dear Rebecca, for this beautiful poet! I bet the butterflies laugh when dancing around the flowers under the sun. In our garden, many of these beautiful creatures are flying around the flowers on the trees these days, with laughter indeed! 😊💖🌹🦋🦋
    PS; Sorry, I am late this time; there is a lot to do at the time! 😜🙏💖

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Many thanks for your lovely comments Alaedin. You are a wonderful support and encouragement. We live in a beautiful world that surrounds us with stories that we often miss. Why did the butterfly chose this flower? This location? I will never know the butterfly’s complete story but for that moment, our stories converged.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. When you arrive in Vancouver we will walk together in this garden. It is on the Vancouver Seawall next to Science World. There are several urban gardens in this area which suggests that we want to grow our food, even if we are city dwellers. These are happy places!!

      Liked by 2 people

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