When life imitates art 0



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Two weeks after I translated this poem, I stood at the door of my house, soaking in the early morning sunrays. A beautiful butterfly landed on the stone stairs a metre away in front of me.

As I watched it open and close its wings I was thinking of the poem below.

Other worldly wanderer on my hand: S. Reményik, translated from Hungarian.

White butterfly under the cloudless sky,
Leave the flowers now for a minute.

Overlook, that my hand is dry stalk,
Overlook that my soul does not yield honey.

Come, settle on the back of my hand —
Only you touch me — I don’t touch you.

And your touch is so fine —
Such must be another worldly love.

And now talk- say that once
You also sat here on a garden bench.

Caved into yourself and alone,
Numb, paralysed and helpless.

Like a person, burdened by his body and soul,
Who knows, there is no liberating power.

And thus, you became a butterfly, soaring, free:
White dream, calming thought.

Overlook, that my soul does not yield honey,
Stay with me for one more second.

And console me, that i shall be a butterfly,
And hover, like you, on someone’s hand,

Who will, caved into himself, one day,
Sit here, like I now, on a garden bench.

It then flew onto my shorts and walked on it for a couple of seconds. I reminded myself to treasure the moment because once it flew away, I will never see it again. But I jumped the gun.

The butterfly flew off to my left, however, after about five metres, it turned around and flew past me but not without brushing against a hair or two on my right lower arm, ever so subtly, before it vanished. I was stunned and moved, whispering to myself:

‘Only you touch me — I don’t touch you… and your touch is so fine…’

Have you been moved by a poem before?

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Andris Heks

Andris is a former journalist, working on 'This Day Tonight' and 'Four Corners' -- ABC television's top rating current affairs programs. He has been a social worker, psychodramatist and yoga therapist, and enjoys singing and playing music, especially Hungarian Gypsy Music. He also enjoys swimming, cycling and writing. Andris is currently working on his memoirs. He welcomes feedback and comments on the opinion pieces published at Starts at 60.

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