Monday, January 19, 2009


We found it on a bunch of grapes and put it
In cotton wool, in a matchbox partly open,
In a room in London in wintertime, and in
A safe place, and then forgot it.

Early in the cold spring we said "See this!
Where on earth did the butterfly come from?"
It looked so unnatural whisking about the curtain:
Then we remembered the chrysalis.

There was the broken shell with what was once
The head askew; and what was once the worm
Was away out of the window, out of the warm,
Out of the scene of the small violence.

Not strange, that the pretty creature formalized
The virtue of its dark unconscious wait
For pincers of light to come and pick it out.
But it was a bad business, our being surprised.

Muriel Spark, 1918-2004

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