“Dance, that ye need no other day”

There is such pleasure in the simple things of summer. I still marvel as the sun sets and the darkening night is lit up with fireflies! Appearing and disappearing, shifting places with one another! A timely reminder of the beauty all around us, even when at first all we notice is the dark! Butterflies do much the same as fireflies, but in the brightness of the day rather than the darkness of night! In the spring or summer of 1938, the poet Philip Larkin at the age of 17 wrote Butterflies. Larkin after writing it did not care much for the poem or where and what he was doing at the time, writing on the type script page of the poem “written variously on a cycle tour. not very good.” – You choose whether his remarks are about the poem or about his cycle tour. The latter he loved to do often! I enjoy the poem, its shape and sound and the many images he creates. I also enjoy butterflies. Perhaps this poem calls to be read aloud as you walk through the meadows, or stroll round your garden on a summer day catching sight and delight as butterflies visit. There are so many great lines in the poem – my favorite is obvious from the title of today’s post.


Side-stepping, fluttering, quick flecking,
            dropping like tops under the blue sky
Skipping white under the sultry pall of green
            summer trees
Or side-slipping over rich green hedges
            of cottage gardens, with red and
            yellow flowers
Of the sun, white-robed in linen,
            the sun says to them: Dance, that ye
            need no other day
Butterflies, tossing their hours away
            Like honey drops. Darling, when in the evening I am
            alone on the land
When the low sweep of the sunwarmed country
            returns to me like a forgotten dream
I could wish that we had been born as they
To take our day with the essence of laughter
And when the sunset silhouettes the forked elm
            To fall-apart amongst the flowers
            Forgotten, forgetting what we should never have known.     Philip Larkin

Loving God,
we are reminded
by the beauty of nature, that
this world is full
of the majestic and the marvelous.
Sadly though our vision for such beauty
is impeded by the darkness of destruction
all around us, through our inhumanity to one another.
Yet again, we come with our prayers and petitions
that your grace and love O Holy God
will beckon us into a brighter and fuller day
of hope and holiness.
Heal the broken hearted, we pray.
Comfort the distraught and give courage
to the frightened and the fearful.
Teach us O Loving God the steps of your dance –
love, grace, forgiveness abounding.
Supply us today with the faith
that will take us into tomorrow
with hope and love. Amen.

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