Richard Berengarten

The blue butterfly

On my Jew’s hand, born out of ghettos and shtetls,

raised from unmarked graves of my obliterated people

in Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia,


on my hand mothered by a refugee’s daughter,

first opened in blitzed London, grown big

through post-war years safe in suburban England,


on my pink, educated, ironical left hand

of a parvenu not quite British pseudo gentleman

which first learned to scrawl its untutored messages


among Latin-reading rugby-playing militarists

in an élite boarding school on Sussex’s green downs

and against the cloister walls of puritan Cambridge,


on my hand weakened by anomie, on my

writing hand, now of a sudden willingly

stretched before me in Serbian spring sunlight,


on my unique living hand, trembling and troubled

by this May visitation, like a virginal

leaf new sprung on the oldest oak in Europe,


on my proud firm hand, miraculously blessed

by the two thousand eight hundred martyred

men, women and children fallen at Kragujevac,


a blue butterfly simply fell out of the sky

and settled on the forefinger

of my international bloody human hand.