W. E. Butts

I’m sharing a poem not written by me. This is by W. E. Butts , who, if you remember, visited Fairfield in November, 2007. His Sunday Evening at the Stardust Café was the winner of The Iowa Source Poetry Book Prize and is available on amazon.com and from 1st World Publishers. The poem presented here originally appeared in Poetry East ’s Fall 2007 issue on “Bliss.” He reads this poem on the KRUU-LP 100.1 FM program Irving Toast, Poetry Ghost with host Rustin Larson (archive ). W. E. Butts’ poems are always quietly powerful and penetrating, and this is no exception:


Against Happiness


When the Dalai Lama first heard

the bombs falling on Tibet,

he whispered to a monk,

“They have stolen our silence.”


Today, at the clinic,

again the big radiation machine

whirred above my head.


But later, my doctor,

who is beautiful,

placed her delicate fingers

around my throat,

like so many butterfly wings.


I knew then it was time

to abandon my elaborate theories

of happiness and to be,

instead, the butterfly.




More great W. E. Butts poems are available in Leaves by Night, Flowers by Day.  There are some copies for sale at Revelation's Bookstore and Cafe in Fairfield, Iowa.