Tuesday Poem-The Butterflew-and a visit to Storylines Christchurch free family day

Today I saw a flutterby

that buttered round and round the sky.

I went right in and told my mum

and she said ‘my and oh and um!

I didn’t know that butter flew.

I really have to phone the zoo.’


She phoned the zoo and they said, ‘Coo!

We didn’t know that butter flies

and melts and drips down through the skies.

We wonder, would you bring us some

that we may see and ho and hum?’


‘Of course,’ said Mum.

‘We’ll be right there.

We’ll even try to bring a pair.

It’s clear my son will be quite famed

for flying butter he has tamed.’


‘Oh Ma’, said I, ‘such a to do.’

Why did you have to phone the zoo?

I didn’t say that butter flies and

melts and drips down through the skies.’                             


‘I didn’t say that butter flew.

Why did you have to phone the zoo?

I said I saw a flutterby that

buttered round and round the sky.’

(c) copyright Helen McKinlay

I dedicate this week’s posting to Storylines Festival 2012.  The first version of this poem was published in ‘A Bedtime Poem For Every Day Of The Year  – Anchor Books 2006.’  This is the second version!   A late posting today because I have just come back from Christchurch, where I was lucky enough to be a guest author in the Storylines  Festival of New Zealand’s Children’s Writers and Illustrators free family day. This event took place in the Catholic Cathedral College hall. And what a beaut day it was.  It was a privilege to be among such an enthusiastic group of parents, children, volunteers and entertainers. It was great to catch up with old friends such as Leonie Thorpe who has just published another great read ‘How to Sell Toothpaste’. And to put names to faces I hadn’t met, among them Sandy McKay, Melanie Drewery, Tim Tipene, Jenny Cooper and Sarona Aionoo-Iosefa.

It was also special for me to go back to Christchurch. There are a lot of positive things happening down there in amongst the loss; of friends and relatives, of a previous way of life, of homes and of buildings. And while it is sad to see empty spaces where the latter once stood, I for one, would put people’s safety over bricks and mortar. Though I do sympathise with those  making the very tough decisions in relation to which buildings and houses to save or not.

One of my favourite heritage buildings would have to be  the Catholic Cathedral in Barbados Street and we had a clear view of this from the college staffroom at Storylines, as it is just behind the basilica area.

I have always loved the image of the cathedral as a golden edifice against the distant background of the Port Hills.

Not only that but its history and that of the old convent next door, a very special building, which became The School of Music. and is now a car park, I have wonderful memories of  events held in both buildings. Fantastic acoustics and atmosphere.  Let’s hope something equally great will be the end result. You can visit this site for some photos of the earthquake damage to the cathedral and more information on the building’s possible future.

Above all my admiration goes out to those still dealing with uncertainty over their housing situations.  If there is one thing which is certain in this life it is change.  I have heard it said that change is opportunity and I believe that…but extraordinary skill and patience is demanded of those in the midst of the events which have occurred in Christchurch over the last two years.

Please return to the hub page and check out the range of poems and poets in the sidebar for this Tuesday.