The Sunday Poem: Bruce Holsapple... Seeing As

Years ago many of us faced life among the industrial factories of America.  Quite a few ended up here…in the Land of Enchantment.  Bruce Holapple contemplates one of the lessons learned in Buffalo, New York.

Bruce works as a Speech-Language Pathologist in Magdalena.  He’s published six books of poetry to date.  His most recent book is Vanishing Act (La Alameda 2010).  He’s also recorded poetry under the aegis of Vox Audio for the last eight years, producing CDs by Margaret Randall, Howard McCord, Nathaniel Tarn, Janet Rodney, Joseph Somoza, Alvaro Cardona-Hine, Todd Moore, Gene Frumkin, and Mary Rising Higgins, among others.

Seeing  As

An abandoned stretch
of railroad track, lined by old factories
plumes of new goldenrod
school yard, neighborhood
providing some cloud
this afternoon
some abandon

Above the cinders
becomes waist-high
a field of purple threads
spiny knapweed & wild bergamot
which the bees work
(when you stop)
undulating between flowers,
black beads

A black swallowtail
blackened wings
fanning out & back
the intense band of (submarginal) blue
symmetric curl of yellow dots
pulling you down to

a simple reflective fact
the outside staring back
confirmed & made into science
by a butterfly

the science of poetry—

& they rise by the millions
in July, flock to work
in their automobiles
wings of steel

blacken the sky
gridlock, exhaust
where they once walked
to the factory

a simple reflective fact

yet who’s better to say
what’s gained or what’s lost
or to measure the cost

than a butterfly?

Poetry submissions are welcome.  Email

Views: 240

Comment by Julie Brokken on November 18, 2012 at 11:40am

who's better to say indeed!  thank you!

Comment by Izquierdo on November 18, 2012 at 1:00pm

Great poem wrapped in a riot of color. As a born and raised Socorro County kid, I love Magdalena and its ambiance, art and black swallowtails, which I collect in my yard in the middle Rio Grande valley, wooing them with rue plants..

Comment by John Roche on November 18, 2012 at 8:21pm

Delightful poem, Bruce, composed with organic precision! Redolent of a post-industrial fugue, or maybe a Butterfly Sutra.

Comment by larry goodell on November 18, 2012 at 10:17pm

sends me out into the field, into "the science of poetry --" and back in again, thanks!

for a vibrant life . . .

Comment by Margaret Randall on November 19, 2012 at 4:39pm

I was slow to read this poem, as I am in Central America, with Internet access intermittent. Got on line just now and found this treasure. Although written about Buffalo, so much of what's here relates to Guatemala as well. A butterfly might well know what's gained and what's lost in this beautiful but battered and impoverished country as well. Beautiful poem. Thank you, Bruce.


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