Over the field where the brown quails whistle,
Over the ferns where the rabbits lie,
Floats the tremulous down of a thistle.
Is it the soul of a butterfly?

See! how they scatter and then assemble;
Filling the air while the blossoms fade,--
Delicate atoms, that whirl and tremble
In the slanting sunlight that skirts the glade.

There goes the summer's inconstant lover,
Drifting and wandering, faint and far;
Only bewailed by the upland plover,
Watched by only the twilight star.

Come next August, when thistles blossom,
See how each is alive with wings!
Butterflies seek their souls in its bosom,
Changed thenceforth to immortal things.

The soul of a butterfly by Thomas Wentworth Higgenson