Day 24: Of the Boy and the Butterfly

This March I’m “slicing” a piece of my teaching day every day with the Two Writing Teachers community.


Kids crowded around the drain pipe.
“You stepped on it!”
“No, I didn’t!
“Yes, you did.”

The back and forth of perceived injustice came inside.

“He’s got it.”


“In his desk.”

D lifted the dish for me to see, “Please can I have it after school?”

IMG_4880 (1)So close, so beautiful. It took your breath away.

I asked him to let it be,  but nothing could get D’s mind off that butterfly.
Nothing could hold him.
Off he went out the door and into the garden.
Came back.
Asked to go to the bathroom.
Came back.
Asked to get a drink of water.
Finally, he settled.

That evening, I sent the picture of the butterfly to D’s mom.
She had heard the story of the butterfly.
I hope she checked his backpack.

Of The Boy And Butterfly

by John Bunyan

Behold, how eager this our little boy
Is for a butterfly, as if all joy,
All profits, honours, yea, and lasting pleasures,
Were wrapped up in her, or the richest treasures
Found in her would be bundled up together,
When all her all is lighter than a feather.

He halloos, runs, and cries out, ‘Here, boys, here!’
Nor doth he brambles or the nettles fear:
He stumbles at the molehills, up he gets,
And runs again, as one bereft of wits;
And all his labour and his large outcry
Is only for a silly butterfly.


This little boy an emblem is of those
Whose hearts are wholly at the world’s dispose.
The butterfly doth represent to me
The world’s best things at best but fading be.
All are but painted nothings and false joys,
Like this poor butterfly to these our boys.

His running through nettles, thorns, and briers,
To gratify his boyish fond desires,
His tumbling over molehills to attain
His end, namely, his butterfly to gain,
Doth plainly show what hazards some men run
To get what will be lost as soon as won.

Read more Poetry Friday posts at Catherine Flynn’s blog Reading to the Core.