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Butterflies of Prees Heath (Poem by Janet Vernon)

Butterflies of Prees Heath



Brimstone beauty on sulphurous wings

flies high on the wind where the skylark sings,

four flakes of yellow adrift from the sun,

tentative proof that spring has begun.



A newbie arrives and plays hide and seek,

among hawthorn leaves sits a Green Hairstreak.



Flashes of orange and soft, smoky brown,


disturbed by my feet not far from the ground,

male Small Heath butterflies parry and fight,

defending their patch with erratic low flight.



Two Green-veined Whites, a blissful mating pair,

transfixed I could do nothing but keep quite still and stare.



The star of the show – the Silver-studded Blue

enters the mid-summer stage right on cue,

sipping the sweet honey-bells of pink heather

and dancing on air in sunshiny weather.



Four Skippers live here – Dingy, Essex, Large and Small,

the moth-like dingy’s not dingy at all,

camouflaged wings in soft velveteen,

trying his level best not to be seen.



Meadow Browns and Ringlets – high-summer beauties,

compete for nectar with Small Copper cuties.



Gatekeeper who, in the absence of gates,

finds a nice bramble and patiently waits

for a female to settle and flutter her wings,

and quicken his pulse and tug his heart strings.



As rose-hips and fungi and berries appear,
au revoir to our friends ‘til springtime next year.



By Janet Vernon