Orange-tip on Cowslip

And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.

Extract from “Tintern Abbey” by William Wordsworth (1798)
Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting
the Banks of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798

Nature inspires everyone at some time in our lives. Perhaps it is the dawn chorus, the increasing day length in a dark, dank January, the first snowdrop, the first Swallow, the first Orange-tip butterfly seen after a long, wet winter.  This spring butterfly inspired Butterfly Conservation Ireland member Felicity Laws to craft the following verse. Based in West Cork, Felicity watches the changing seasons bring nature’s beauty to focus. Joy is often elevated by long absence, a sensation Felicity captures in her verse.


A creeping, insidious longing
As the sun rises higher each day
Every brightening moment might reveal
A butterfly/damselfly/dragonfly
In all its shimmering glory.
Frissons of fear and love
Bubbling like quality champagne
As I try to extend the moment
A flutter catches my eye:
Will there be an identifying view?
Smooth slide for a photograph?
Will it bask? will it dematerialise
As if it had never been?
Whichever way it goes
The craving is slightly assuaged
Enough that ‘it’ exists
Whether or not I know
What ‘it’ is; fear dispatched,
Only love remains.
At the next exciting air tremble
Another opportunity or ten
Never too many!
And so on, a summer addiction,
Winter rehab flown with the first
Chitinous flicker of unfeathered wings
Magical natural beauty.

Felicity Laws, April 2024

Orange-tip at rest.

Photos copyright J. Harding

Poem copyright Felicity Laws