Wednesday, 31 May 2006


The Butterfly fluttered in at the open window of the art gallery and flittered about looking at the paintings hanging on the walls. She hovered in front of a vast, romantic landscape with rolling, wooded hills and a herd of cows standing by a stream, but it was nothing like the real countryside that she knew because there was no smell of grass, no sound of babbling water or lowing cattle.

Then the Butterfly paused by a still life depicting a pyramid of fruit and a scattering of dew-covered flowers; but it was also nothing like real life, having no mingled fragrances of orange, apple and wild roses.

Then she saw what seemed to her the most beautiful thing in the world: a huge canvas splattered with multi-coloured abstractions and vibrant explosions of vivid colour; dots and spots, dashes and splashes; a riot of hues and tints, pigments and tinctures…

It was love at first sight.

Dancing rapturously before the picture, the Butterfly bobbed and curtseyed in whirling gyrations by which she hoped to woo and win the affection of this dazzling creature. But the painting did not respond - even to the most sensual and seductive of her dances during which she brushed her delicate wings against his rough-edged brushstrokes.

The Butterfly’s life would, in any event, have been brief but here, in the art gallery, it was even briefer, though more ecstatic. In a heart-stopping spasm of unrequited love, she died, clinging to the canvas and shedding microscopic butterfly tears.

A passing Curator stopped in horror, appalled at what he saw: life crudely intruding into the hallowed sanctuary of High Art and daring to touch a priceless masterpiece…

A Child, who was wandering by, stopped in wonder, entranced by what he saw: a painting that in one corner and for one, brief, glorious instant, shimmered and fluttered and almost burst into life…

© Brian Sibley 2006

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