|South American butterfly often called the Glasswing Butterfly. The see-through wings are a defense mechanism so it’s hard to see it in flight.|
The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.
We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.
Just like the butterfly, I too will awaken in my own time.
In nature a repulsive caterpillar turns into a lovely butterfly. But with humans it is the other way around: a lovely butterfly turns into a repulsive caterpillar.
May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.
Butterflies are self propelled flowers.
It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop.
What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.
I saw a poet chase a butterfly in a meadow. He put his net on a bench where a boy sat reading a book. It’s a misfortune that it is usually the other way round.
The butterfly is a flying flower,
The flower a tethered butterfly.
~Ponce Denis Écouchard Lebrun
Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.
~Richard Buckminster Fuller
They seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if they had surprised a butterfly in the winter woods.
With the rose the butterfly’s deep in love,
A thousand times hovering round;
But round himself, all tender like gold,
The sun’s sweet ray is hovering found.
~Heinrich Heine, “New Spring”
“Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.”
~Hans Christian Andersen
Love is like a butterfly: It goes where it pleases and it pleases wherever it goes.
I’ve watched you now a full half-hour;
Self-poised upon that yellow flower
And, little Butterfly! Indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless! – not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again!
~William Wordsworth, “To a Butterfly”
The butterfly’s attractiveness derives not only from colors and symmetry: deeper motives contribute to it. We would not think them so beautiful if they did not fly, or if they flew straight and briskly like bees, or if they stung, or above all if they did not enact the perturbing mystery of metamorphosis: the latter assumes in our eyes the value of a badly decoded message, a symbol, a sign.
Flowers and butterflies drift in color, illuminating spring.
This great purple butterfly,
In the prison of my hands,
Has a learning in his eye
Not a poor fool understands.
~William Butler Yeats, “Another Song of a Fool”
[N]ot quite birds, as they were not quite flowers, mysterious and fascinating as are all indeterminate creatures.
Know thyself! A maxim as pernicious as it is ugly. Whoever observes himself arrests his own development. A caterpillar who wanted to know itself well would never become a butterfly.
Do ye not comprehend that we are worms,
Born to bring forth the angelic butterfly
That flieth unto judgment without screen?
We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
The fluttering of a butterfly’s wings can effect climate changes on the other side of the planet.
The paired butterflies are already yellow with August
Over the grass in the West garden;
They hurt me. I grow older.
This magnificent butterfly finds a little heap of dirt and sits still on it; but man will never on his heap of mud keep still.
Moss covered paths between scarlet peonies,
Pale jade mountains fill your rustic windows.
I envy you, drunk with flowers,
Butterflies swirling in your dreams.
~Ch’ien Ch’i, translated by Kenneth Rexrot
We must remain as close to the flowers, the grass, and the butterflies as the child is who is not yet so much taller than they are. We adults, on the other hand, have outgrown them and have to lower ourselves to stoop down to them. It seems to me that the grass hates us when we confess our love for it. Whoever would partake of all good things must understand how to be small at times.
We are closer to the ants than to butterflies. Very few people can endure much leisure.
Nerves and butterflies are fine – they’re a physical sign that you’re mentally ready and eager. You have to get the butterflies to fly in formation, that’s the trick.
Grown-ups love figures. When you tell them that you have made a new friend, they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you, “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?” Instead, they demand: “How old is he? How many brothers has he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?” Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, 1943, translated from French
I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man.