The Jaguar and the Butterfly

Set astray into the night,
and proven strong in earthly might
by the pelt upon his back,
set to attack
in godly right,
a warrior set forward.

A mighty beast
set to go East
did travel by the stars.
Beauty, somewhere, sought by Romans
opposite of Mars
beckon arms away from home and
call for tribute wars.

Tezcatlipoca chorused:
“Through the forest
Make your brothers slaves!
For not appeased
am I ‘til these
are by the dozen
slain and gave.”

It was said
and so he went,
three others dressed the same;
risking death
or worse now yet:
bringing Venus shame.

The further pressed
the more depressed
the starlight then became;
whether eaten by the canopy
or feline all the same.
But soon enough,
by nature’s rough,
total darkness came.

A warrior makes not excuses
nor empty valor-blocking truces,
this is true—But still
By dark or sound,
uneven ground,
or by idiocy’s cost,
our warrior was turned around
and became alone and lost.

Hours passed and he did travel
from the night sky to the Sun.
Past cenotes, over gravel
abound toward Tulum.

Afraid of death and near exhaustion,
Tezcatlipoca heard his prayers.
The warrior got what he sought:
the early morning glare.
The sun’s rays swept across the sea
into his dark brown eyes
and bellow through the humid air
did the warrior’s cries.

“Gods be praised!
The World is good!
I need now only travel north!”
and with not another mortal word,
the warrior set forth.

But with gods so cruel as they are
and the human form so fickle,
the torrential rush of hope he had
did slow into a trickle.

Loyally
by sea did he
go toward the Huron lands;
But as time went by
his eyes did cry
by swollen feet and tired hands.

Would he be taken by a Beast
and made into a Summer’s feast?
–But wait!
What sound was that
behind the bush?
What black feline’s trail follows mine
and makes plans to ambush?
–Will I die here?
Never! No!
He stood and raised his shield.
But, to his surprise,
and not demise,
another creature took the field.

A butterfly swept from the jungle:
black in colour,
light and humble,
dotted delicately white.
With stripes of pink
to make one think
of all the gods’ delight.

She flew so coy,
fluttered with joy,
as though adept to meet him.
She gently dodged
his mighty shield
as though she there did need him.

She flew with grace
across his face
and landed on his finger.
And though he shifted,
dropped his shield,
the Beauty chose to linger.

He brought his finger to the sky
‘til he and her gazed eye to eye.
He smiled there and then did ask:
“Why are you here?
What came to pass?
You are quite a way from home,
from your forests overgrown.
What brings you out to Salty Sea?
Is it luck, or is it me?

“You and I are quite alike,
lost and don’t belong.
Would you like to join my hike?
It will not take too long.”

The winged thing took to his shoulder,
needing not to think it over.
They set out into the dawn
and walked until the dawn was gone.
So too, then, the noon did pass.
Our brave soldier and his lass
invincible, through noon and night,
through passing Beast and passing light.

They made it back before they knew it.
He said “Without you,
I could not do it.
Your company was kind and warm,
but this last step has brought me home.
If you want to,
You may roam,
Or—
tell me this—
would you like to stay?
If you would,
I would like it that way.”

And stay she did,
and it was good.
A spirit, stoic, and one free.
The butterfly did what it could
to be his source of glee.
The soldier, though,
as a fool does,
grew happy with routine.

Days came to pass,
time did expand
He ate and slept,
took slaves and land
and got his belly full from war.

Days came to pass,
Time did slow,
And more oft’ she gazed
through the window
and had her soul left wanting more.

Some years went by.
She thought of leaving;
to bring her wings aloft in air.
But fear mounted,
of the soldiers grieving
and of him thinking her unfair.
She did not want to hurt him,
but nor this could she bear.
And so she fled into the night.

The rush was all that she had hoped:
sprawling trees and jagged leaves,
the chirping of the crickets,
and the warm and gentle breeze.
She found herself enticed,
By the blue and lofty sea.
She again made haste toward it,
and glimpsed upon The Beast.

A monster came out from the ocean:
masts soaring through the sky.
Royal men stood tall upon it,
seeking somewhere dry.
Surely it was godly,
this behemoth as it stood!
One hundred toneladas,
and sixty feet of wood!

The butterfly was drawn to it
as a moth into a pyre.
Quetzalcoatl said to her:
“Is this not what you desire?
Your wings,
So fine,
Take you now into adventure.
Make your freedom known to you!
Escape from your indenture!

“The one you dedicate yourself
to now is far from here.
Something new awaits you there.
What do you have to fear?”

She listened to the Serpent,
as the giant ventured near.
She laid in wait,
upon a branch,
to watch this thing most queer.

The men upon the Carrack
stormed onto the sand.
Their spirit of adventure sharp,
like the swords held in their hands.
Their skin was fair and weathered,
their beards a golden blonde.
Their eyes were coloured aqua blue
like nature’s softest pond.

Their presence was exhilarating,
Bold and Gold and new,
They brandished steel and leather and
a purpose they felt true.

The butterfly,
she could not take it,
sitting there so still
while adventure gleamed before her eyes
as she had dreamed of from that sill.
She exploded from the flora
and found herself among
La Alma de la Exploradora
and men of foreign tongue.

One of the men stepped forward,
and he offered out a hand.
He said “Hola, Mariposa”
and she took the cue to land.

“I am the Commander
of this Ship you see today.
I have come in search of Treasure.
I have come from far away.”
The tall young man,
So regal,
sheathed his sword into a scabbard.
“So tell me of this rich green Coast
and this Culture clearly backward.

“There is great potential here,
at least I have been told
that your men know not of Jesus
and have Cities made of Gold.”

The man was of the Renaissance,
The spirit of discovery!
He knew of arts and history
and the tales he told were lovely.
He told the little winged thing
of how he’d met The Queen,
how he’d conquered Hispaniola,
and the foreign lands he’d seen.

“If you think that is amazing,”
he beckoned with a smile.
“Then gaze upon this mighty Steed
I’ve taken from the Wild.”
He whistled to his First Mate,
Who stood alert at once, of course.
The Skipper gave an order,
his tone proper but with force.
The Spanish men went to the ship
and returned shortly thereafter,
with them was a gorgeous horse
attentive to its master.

The butterfly was quite amazed
to behold this beauty beast.
It stood tall and strong
with poise and grace
at twice his size at least.

Smile at her once again
La Conquistadora did,
“Come with me
on my Adventure
and back then to Madrid.
I have many sights to show you
and plenty more to see.
My men will all adore you
if you come along with me.”

The butterfly was tempted,
but remembered of her past.
To make a promise
so dishonest
she would not do so fast.

So, rather than go with him,
she took again to air.
She made her way away from him
so as not to be unfair.

His countenance then fell.
“You’re making a Mistake.
Though I have Gold to offer you,
that which I can buy not
I will take.

“I am Nature’s master!
It will listen or feel wrath!
I control my mighty Steed
and I control my Path!
My six hundred Men will find you!
We may capture or may slay!
Be you French or Indian,
I have the final Say!
So land again upon me,
you filthy little Bug!
When I clip you of your tattered Wings
you will become a Slug!”

She felt her fear upon her,
at this stranger’s sudden threats.
Though he sought to conquer her,
fear only he begets.

And so she ran away,
astray into the day.
The foreign man to took not to this,
“Go get her!” he did say.
The Spanish men took after her
and trampled through the jungle.
Though she flew with all her strength,
she could not evade the rumble
of the soldiers coming after her
armed and on her tail.
She tired and felt mired
but could not afford to fail.

Searching now for safety,
she remembered of her man
clad in jade and feline pelt
and prayed he’d understand
that she sought his stoic comfort;
his brown eyes and calming hands.
Or, if not,
he may at least
give her a place to land.

She made it to the walls
of the mighty jungle city.
She lofted softly over them
and hoped he would have pity.

She took a look behind her
to check for evil men.
She looked and saw there nothing,
and so she looked again.
Had the men then given up
their vile little chase?
Did they hide?
Or slow?
Where did they go?
And will they show their face?

The coast did then seem safe to her.
She ventured to the spot
that the soldier often frequented,
her stomach tied in knots.
What was it
that she could do
to make this any better?
If she tries
to apologize,
will he even let her?

She spotted him
upon a rock
as she had done before.
She flew to him,
he noticed her,
and gazed down to the floor.

“I see you have returned.
Have you had your fill of life?
From the day that you abandoned me,
I’ve since felt only strife.”

She did not
say anything,
for what was she to do?
He walked away with no regard
for sorry or for ruse.

She understood.
She liked it not of course,
but she understood why he may not
believe in her remorse.
She knew then what her fate was,
but at least she got away.
She rested there just long enough
to watch her world turn grey.

The next day she was gone,
off again to see the world,
but could not help
to stop and think
of how her acts unfurled.
Often times she told herself:
“Everything is fine.”
But curious was she so she
returned from time to time.

Then one day she came,
just to watch from on a leaf,
to see her home
where she once lived
but this time brought her grief.

This time she did behold
that which she feared the most.
She saw again
those ugly men
She’d met once at the coast.
They had come to find her,
made haste and axe to grinder.
She cursed herself
that she was not
one mere iota kinder.

The men had come in force,
bearing spear and bearing horse.
Steel and blood
and bones and mud
and death had run its course.

The walls were barely holding.
The soldiers clearly tired.
The Spanish men revealed a beast
of iron that breathed fire.

BOOM
The wall was gone.
BOOM
The men did run.
Where the Aztecs needed many,
the Spanish needed one.
They broke into the palace,
bloody and with malice.
Steel to jade,
the men parade,
not a battle here was made.
Clubs and spades
trade hearts for diamonds.
Obsidian and silver mining,
rendered useless from a blow
of tempered steel from red hot glow!
Left the children weeping woe!
Last words belching; “Where to go?”

The warrior with whom we started
was calm within the walls.
Though he had thought that he would fight,
he watched his city fall.
The scene around him bloody,
his everything now gone,
and yet he thought of only
that single fateful dawn.
Death was all around him,
his people screaming now.
The gods command with anger
that he burst into the crowd
and make the streets run red with blood
of Spanish navy men.
Instead, he thought of only
losing everything again.

Another soldier joined him,
sitting calm and marked for death.
“Do you plan to stay here
until there is nothing left?”
Our hero simply nodded.
The other soldier said:
“If the butterfly had not come back,
would our people all be dead?”

The warrior did shrug:
“What will be will be.
I cannot blame a butterfly
for wanting to be free.”


(Image Credit)

 

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