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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Cyber Communication (email, IM’s, etc) (11/04/10)

TITLE: Beneath Withered Leaves
By Loren T. Lowery


E-mails –
Intent irrelevant.
Words, by intelligent design - digitalized -
SMPT Protocol.
Electronically sent.
Distance not a factor
Nor time of consequence.
Seasonal elements powerless to abrade
As seen – as sent
Man-made messaging made eternal

Trump of man over God?
Consider then:

Butterfly in
Airy dalliance.
Created not made.
Heir to nature -
Tossed and tangled
In thoughtless winds.
Plucked petal
Brief tremble of beauty -
Momentary glimpse of mortality.

Who then the greater power?

Maker of e-mails
Their messages
Deleted but not
White blinking cursor
To revive – to remind - to tease –
To reflect in melancholy –to recriminate –
To never be silenced in a black abyss
Of infinite static.
Holding us mired to where we were and not where we are –
Or, would wish to be.
According to man, in man’s image made,
Sisyphus to ever roll the boulder
Up the hill.

Or, Creator
Of the winged creature?
Mirror of rainbow;
Bridled with sweet nectar and dangling reins
Attached to our very souls.
Oh, but to grasp them and ride her paths of
Random fancy – free but for the pleasure of
Wandering winds.
Untethered by yesterday’s ties.
Present and alive in the moment –
Fleetingly senseless to the decay of our mortal shells.
According to God, in God’s image made,
Winged victory -
Soaring unbound!

Trump of man over God – who the greater power?

Made by man. Made ever-present
By words and phrases
Into electronic ciphers.
Decipherable (it seems) but to himself;
And infinite in its causal
Regress – always looking backwards.
Yet, still a Titan over mortality.

The other,
Created by God. Made Ishmael -
By faith
Always with us.
God, creating a finite creature of dust
To dust to return.
One whose memory can be found
In the butterfly's broken wings lying
Beneath withered leaves.
Sorrow over death.
Surrender to cruel fate -
White Heron in Panther’s burning eye.

But then –

No languor hesitates
The butterfly her course
Nothing abets her to
Unfurl her wings to the air.
She cannot but be a poem written in
The wind
Taking flight - unfettered by fear.
In quiet beauty she soars
Bearing awe in her journey -
Lifting our laden souls.

And, by that then we know who trumps - who the greater power?

By stroke of key on keyboard
Burning indelible tattoos
Into space
Reminding him only of himself -
As he was.
Endless writing/reading of encryptions that
Seem to haunt
His ability to create more
Than what is beyond himself.
Unable to create that which would leave his soul -

Or, God?
Author of the poem of the butterfly
Written to His readers whose very hearts beat in
Perfect rhythm to her flight
A poem without words
Bringing peace and serenity
Through her whirling fairy dance.

Borne upon her fragile wings
Our imaginings soar
Her transient journey
Transporting us
Even to its mortal end.
Finding at last
Under the withered leaves
Not crippled wings
Battered by capricious winds
But rather,
Stained arms that
Once lifted its traveler above
Her own prison walls.

Eternal hope
Springs in our earthly breast –
That beyond the decay flutters
Greater beauty – memories of what
Is yet to be.

Eternal despair
Shadows man's electronic history -
Deleted, but never vanquished.
Pitchforks ever
To prick us
Our regretted vanities.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/16/10
Oh Wow! I'm guessing the judges won't overlook this masterpiece. It starts out like it might not be beautiful poetry...then it begins to soar. Your metaphor of the butterfly is superb. As for your definition of e-mail, this is right-on: man-made messages made eternal.
Gregory Kane11/16/10
Highly creative with a beautiful, sustained contrast. I particularly enjoyed the allusions to Greek mythology although I confess that I get didn't grasp the reference to Ishmael. A master wordsmith
Lillian Rhoades 11/16/10
Wonderful imagery. This reminds me of poems I had to read for some English courses.Definitely not a quick read, and certanly out of that proverbial "box." I might have shortened it, because at some point,it seemed you went beyond the perfect ending.
Beth LaBuff 11/16/10
Wow! Gorgeous, thought-provoking, beautiful phrases and images. I loved this about the butterfly, "She cannot but be a poem written in -- The wind..." and the image of the "stroke of key on keyboards burning indeible tattoos into space." Amazing work!
Henry Clemmons11/16/10
Very, very, very good! I loved some stanzas more than others, but the overall piece was outstanding, and when you decided to throw down some images, it was some of the best I have read. And that may have been your intent, the contrast of cold technology and the beauty and breath of life. Either way, bravo, some of these stanzas are Level Five stuff. Excellent job. I truely enjoyed the read and was inspired. The title is awesome too.
DK Landers11/17/10
I admire poets. You are so creative. Your imagery is vivid. Quite an endeavor. Good job!
Rachel Phelps11/17/10
Excellent! I love how you carried the comparisons throughout. It was a bit difficult for me to relate at first because of my own frame of reference - I've never considered cyber communication to be one of the reasons man considers himself more powerful than God. Gave me something to think about.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/17/10
This is beautiful. The phrase poem of the butterfly really touched my heart.
Catrina Bradley 11/17/10
Your imagery is outstanding! It might just be me, but it seems that the butterfly verses flow and flutter, and the "digitized" are more staccato and harsh. I'm in awe of the beauty and depth of this poem. Again - Outstanding!!