An Average Life / And All My Youth

An Average Life

The admiral butterfly
a map of happiness
on the burnished green
of the ivy in May

its glamour
its poise
its place in the sun
imagine you had it

bright as a bracelet
fine as a feather
strong as a storm
imagine you were it

and you practised your movements
studied your speeches
turned up in good time –
and your part has been cancelled

the play goes ahead
with you as a servant
in black in the background
required to smile.

Christina Egan © 2010


And all my youth I have been old

Amidst the wealth of my existence
I suffer hunger dark and cold
I am invisibly imprisoned
and all my youth I have been old

On narrow shoulders I must carry
my illness like an awkward cross
I am inexorably burdened
by frailty and its offspring loss

Christina Egan © 2010



Orange Butterflies

Orange Butterflies
(Monarch Butterflies)

Brittle ochre leaves…
No – sinewy butterflies,
waiting through winter!


Orange butterflies,
tiny, tender, untiring,
crossing continents.


A swift golden cloud:
a million bright butterflies
following their stars.


Christina Egan © 2016

Clusters of deep-orange butterflies on deep-green leaves, similary shaped.

Monarch butterflies cluster in Santa Cruz, California.
Photograph by Brocken Inaglory via Wikimedia Commons.

On Orange Sails / Yellow Balloon

On Orange Sails

On orange sails
across the ocean
of the sky,
towards the land
of lust and rest,
the butterfly
must toil and flail,
must drift and dream –
like you and I…
On orange sails
I still woo you,
my butterfly.

Christina Egan © 2014

Yellow Balloon

The matching dreams of you and me
are mellow streams of scented noon,
are yellow reams of solid silk,
to sew into a huge balloon
and blow it up with double breath
and fire it with blazing love
to sail across the heaving sky –
for us, the sea is not enough!

Christina Egan © 2014

There are more poems and a photograph at Orange Butterflies.
There is now also an anniversary poem about a Red Balloon!



Ein großer lila Schmetterling
an einem feinen Silberband:
ein einfallsreiches Ornament
von unbekannter Künstlerhand,

das man vielleicht den Mauerresten
des Vorstadthauses einst entringt,
in sorgsam aufgereihten Kästen
dem Publikum zur Ansicht bringt.

Bis dahin werden Bild und Name
der Trägerin verloren sein;
nur ein verbeulter Brillenrahmen
wirft einen warmen Kupferschein,

und, rätselhaft, ein Silberring
trägt eine Inschrift auf Latein.
Die Zeitung schreibt: Der Schmetterling
mag Zeugnis einer Liebe sein.
Christina Egan © 2015

A woman's throat with a large butterfly pendant in silver and purple and a long blond ringlet on her dark garment.This story takes place in the future: when we are the past  unearthed, marvelled at, mused about. The inscription on the ring – which is a real item from the year 2000 AD – means ‘May we always love each other’.