The Hopeful Lepidopterist
Not even a mosquito fills
the net, let alone a butterfly,
but like a punch-drunk palooka he keeps swinging,
though the wind fills his net with nothing but wind.
But even a punch-drunk Palooka dreams of a giving that
instead of always receiving one.
And so he holds up his standard and jabs the atmosphere with
a conical streamer fastened to a flailing stick,
a puffed up meshwork filled with air and hope.
He stirs the stillness with a breeze of his own making,
for his arms keep very busy waving that net.
But should his ardor flag, should his tired arms slow,
then the graceful curve of gauze arcing above him will
The flaccid lacework will dangle from the stick like a
And if that gauze moves at all it will be like a pendulum
swaying back and forth and nowhere,
as it winds down spending the last spasm of energy.
Then the net would truly be empty.
But our hopeful lepidopterist keeps swinging,
a Don Quixote among entomologists.
His arms move, gain muscle, and acquire tone.
His eyes practice keenness.
His net is held high -
it's a gossamer cone tasting the air,
wide open, hungry,
and prepared for any butterfly that might blunder in.
If you've any comments on
this poem, Richard Fein would be pleased to
hear from you.