Robyn Hood Black - children's author, poet, artist

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Hanging with fellow Georgia writers (from top, l-r) Tracy Walker, Heather Kolich, Donna Bowman, (bottom, middle) Janice Hardy and Paula Puckett
photo by Steve Kolich

Susan Rosson Spain, Robyn Hood Black, Elizabeth Dulemba, and Myra Meade at the Hall Book Exchange in Gainesville, Ga.
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Southern Breeze Kudos Kites 09 - Donna, Robyn, Heather, Sarah, and Peggy

Robyn with Kathleen Duey, author extraordinaire

Robyn with Alaska Nature Writer Debbie Miller

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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday: Laura Shovan's Poetry Postcard 5

January 10, 2013

Tags: Poetry Friday, poetry, nature, authors, history

Have you read about how the lovely Laura Shovan is commemorating another trip around the sun this year? Her birthday isn't until late February, but she's launched a Poetry Postcard project to celebrate. I signed up through her blog to receive on of her special offerings, which are intriguing vintage postcards that she's graced with one of her original poems.

How delighted I was to receive my mailbox surprise this week! You can see in the image above that the glossy picture on the front is of butterflies. Not just any butterflies, but vintage illustrations of "Papillons du Brésil" (or, "Butterflies of Brazil" in French). The five specimens are identified, with each name apparently hand written originally with calligraphy in brown ink.

How perfect is this card to start my New Year? Well, I do have a "thing" for butterflies, as I do many wonderful beasties, not only for their beauty but for what they might symbolize on a personal level for those who encounter them. I certainly have a thing for calligraphy. I even took French in high school and college. And I've actually been to the location described on the back of the card: Callaway Gardens, which boasts the incredible Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center, where these living works of art flit above and around entranced visitors of all ages. It's in Pine Mountain, Georgia, south of Atlanta. This postcard makes me want to visit again sometime soon!

[Oh, and did you notice this is Poetry Postcard "5", and there are five butterflies in the picture? I have a thing for the number 5, too....]

Okay, I know - you want to read Laura's poem! It appeared previously on her own blog, but just in case you missed it, as I did, I'm thrilled to share it here with her permission:


Trick mirrors reveal
the human face is never folded
in perfect halves. Perhaps
this is true of the butterfly, too.
Pin one up and there's
a cuffed wing, damaged tail,
scales so thin with wear
sunlight comes through.
After hundreds of miles,
one might call them frail.

©Laura Shovan. All rights reserved.

Much to ponder and appreciate there, no? Can you pick a favorite image or phrase or line?

After you do, wing your way over to NO WATER RIVER, where the ever effervescent Renée LaTulippe is rounding up Poetry Friday! (Doesn't she have a name any butterfly would love?)


  1. January 11, 2013 6:51 AM EST
    Thank you, Robyn. I hadn't even noticed the symmetry of postcard 5 and 5 butterflies! You're right, Renee's name is butterfly-friendly, and French too.
    - Laura Shovan
  2. January 11, 2013 7:21 AM EST
    And French, too! Of course! Thanks so much for sharing your fine work here today, Laura. Happy Birthday Season!
    - Robyn Black
  3. January 11, 2013 8:04 AM EST
    Indeed, much to ponder! Liked the thought-provoking nature of this.
    - Matt Forrest Esenwine
  4. January 11, 2013 9:15 AM EST
    So, what's with the number 5? :)
    - elizabeth d
  5. January 11, 2013 9:55 AM EST
    Glad you enjoyed, Matt! Thanks for popping in.

    e, "5" was one of those special numbers for me as a kid. I later figured out if you add up my birthday date numbers and then add again to get a single number, you end up with 5. I used to love to play with numbers in my head before I ever heard of numerology (which I don't know a whole lot about, but it's intriguing!) Laura's birthday celebration, she explains in her posts, was partly inspired by the fact she'll be 44 on 2/22. Cool, huh? (And, okay, I won't point out that this is the fifth comment here today...!)
    - Robyn Black
  6. January 11, 2013 10:24 AM EST
    Now that is truly lovely. My (now eleven) year old daughter once referred to herself as a prince in a play when she was four. When I asked her pointedly and in a decidedly leading question whether she was a boy or a pretty little girl, she replied with much theater and panache: "I'm a butterfly!" - and I knew we must have done something right to hear this from her lips at a young age. This poem reminded me of that lovely moment. :) Thanks Robyn and Laura!
    - Myra from GatheringBooks
  7. January 11, 2013 10:37 AM EST
    What a lovely poem! It's so much fun seeing Laura's postcard poems alighting on different blogs :). Perhaps the number "5" means you need to write five more butterfly poems of your own . . .
    - jama
  8. January 11, 2013 10:43 AM EST
    Hello, Myra! What a WONDERFUL story! And, yes, you all must be doing something right. I hope your lovely daughter continues to have butterfly moments as she grows and before too long becomes a teenager. :0) But no rush!

    Hi, Jama! You know I have a hard time resisting a challenge... ;0) We've missed you - Happy New Year after your little holiday break.
    - Robyn Black
  9. January 11, 2013 12:03 PM EST
    Hi Robyn! Thank you for sharing Laura's lovely poem and your personal connection to butterflies. I love the image:
    "After hundreds of miles,
    one might call them frail."
    True of people maybe?
    - Bridget Magee
  10. January 11, 2013 1:42 PM EST
    Bridget, thanks for visiting - :0) That last line caught me, too - it immediately suggested a butterfly AND a person. I really like this poem!
    - Robyn Black
  11. January 11, 2013 2:30 PM EST
    An incredibly lovely poem and much to ponder, you are right! It brought to mind the Shakespeare quote, "Frailty, thy name is woman [substitute human]".
    - B.J. Lee
  12. January 11, 2013 2:42 PM EST
    Ahh, yes, BJ! My mind went first to Sting's "Fragile" song when I read this. (OK, that shows both my age and my rock star crush side...!) Thanks for coming by.
    - Robyn Black
  13. January 11, 2013 2:53 PM EST
    Another thing we share, Robyn. I totally have a crush on Sting. Going back to the 7th grade. Sigh. Thank you for the comments, everyone. Yes, I do see some symmetry between human nature and butterflies.
    - Laura Shovan
  14. January 11, 2013 4:36 PM EST
    Laura - ha! Such good taste. I mean, anyone who can pull off sexy charisma while singing a line that includes the "Scylla and Charybdis"... ! But I digress. The "Fragile" song is what came to mind with your lovely poem. ;0)
    - Robyn Black
  15. January 11, 2013 9:48 PM EST
    Beautiful, both the poem and the postcard project. I love the way this poem finds beauty in imperfection and those worn out but still lovely wings
    - Violet N.
  16. January 11, 2013 10:14 PM EST
    Beautifully put, Violet! Thanks for visiting.
    - Robyn Black
  17. January 12, 2013 1:19 AM EST
    Finally to your post, Robyn. I have seen the butterfly poem earlier, & think it is wonderfully sad (rather contradictory I know). These creatures do so much considering their size, I enjoyed the connections you made also, like the number 5. Interesting stuff!
    - Linda Baie
  18. January 12, 2013 10:00 AM EST
    - Mary Lee Hahn
  19. January 12, 2013 11:01 AM EST
    Love the butterflies. What an awesome project and poem.
    - Betsy
  20. January 12, 2013 11:04 AM EST
    My grandmother collected butterflies, pinned them to cardboard. She died when I was still young, but I remember this. The postcard and poem reminded me of her. We may not be symmetrical, but like the butterfly, we are all beautiful creatures of God. Thanks for sharing your gift.
    - Margaret
  21. January 12, 2013 12:09 PM EST
    Hi, Linda! I get the "wonderfully sad" comment, and I agree.

    Mary, Thanks for saying hello! It was a lovely gift indeed.

    Hi, Betsy - me too. And I've been noticing butterfly images all over since getting this postcard. (Of course, today actually feels like spring here - crazy.)

    Margaret, thanks for sharing your family story, and your lovely thoughts! :0)
    - Robyn Black
  22. January 12, 2013 9:51 PM EST
    I love those last lines, the frail delicacy of those wings....and the journeys they hint at.
    - Tara
  23. January 12, 2013 10:15 PM EST
    Hi, Tara! I love those "hundreds of miles" too....
    - Robyn Black

Quick Clicks

bio, photos, interview links, etc.
Explore a poem or two or five....
Explore this genre of sparely crafted poetry which offers endless depth. Resources for students, teachers, and writers.
Author visits
In schools or other settings, Robyn shares her passion for writing and encourages creativity. Presentations for all age groups.
In addition to writing books, Robyn has sold her writing to major children's magazines.
A rhyming tale of a young boy's knightly adventure with an imagined dragon.
Nonfiction, interactive book on wolves featuring giant pop-up and tons of info!