Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Butterfly, by Rhian Gallager

We entered a year of slow burn
I stole a line from her eyes
She wrote by hand return

The body awoke to the act of yearn
Moisture met the heat of July
We entered a year of slow burn

A door ajar, could yield or close firm
From colleague to intimate ally
She wrote by hand, I wrote in return

Disclosure inched by turn
A long striptease of send and reply
We entered a year of slow burn

Shining and wild were in
Our lines, barely disguised
She wrote by hand in return

All grew from a pact of adjourn
Overwintering, waiting a sign in the sky
Fused on a year of slow burn
Word at the start became touch in return.

(c) Rhian Gallagher

About the Poem:
"Butterfly", first published in Poetrix, will be included in Rhian Gallagher's second collection of poetry, Shift (forthcoming from Auckland University Press.) "Butterfly" follows the form of the villanelle, although it reflects the contemporary trend of allowing variation in the wording of the refrain.

I believe this poem is representative of Rhian's work in terms of the beauty and delicacy of the writing, a delicacy that nonetheless enhances both the emotional depth of the poem and also the adherence to a demanding form.

I have revisited Rhian's first collection, Salt Water Creek, on several occasions now, enjoying the juxtaposition of intellect, interior reflection, and often profound emotion that characterises her work—and very much look forward to the publication of Shift next month.

"Butterfly" is reproduced here with the permission of Rhian Gallagher.

About the Poet:
Rhian Gallagher’s first poetry collection, Salt Water Creek (Enitharmon Press, London, 2003) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for First Collection. Gallagher received the Janet Frame Literary Trust Award in 2008. Auckland University Press is publishing her second collection of poetry, Shift, in September 2011. Gallagher is also the author of a non-fiction book, Feeling for Daylight: The Photographs of Jack Adamson, (South Canterbury Museum, 2010).

Helen Lowe is this week's Tuesday Poem editor and a regular contributor to the Tuesday Poem community. A novelist as well as a poet, Helen's first novel, Thornspell (Knopf) is published in the US, while her second The Heir of Night, (HarperCollins, US; Little, Brown, UK) is also available internationally and recently debuted in The Netherlands, as Kind van de Nacht. She is currently working on her third novel.

Once you have enjoyed "Butterfly" do take some time to enjoy the other poems posted by members of the Tuesday Poem community for this week. You will find them all listed in the right-hand sidebar.


Jan said...

Rich, evocative wording.

All the best for Swift's launch - enjoy it!

AJ Ponder said...

I love the feel of this poem, it's got a lovely pace echoing the refrain.
Thanks for posting it Helen, and good luck to Rhian for the launch :)

Janis said...

Lovely poem. I'm looking forward to 'Shift'

susan t. landry said...

tender, sensual. lovely.

Ben Hur said...

I'm a sucker for a villanelle. Lovely poem, lots that lurks unsaid.

Rhian Gallagher said...

Thank you for your comments on Butterfly. Feedback is a rare thing; and many thanks to you Helen for choosing the poem.

Helen Lowe said...


It was a pleasure--and best wishes for your launch this weekend!

Thank you, too, to everyone who commented.