Trumping butterfiles

MONARCH butterfly chrysalises and Donald Trump are not usually images that come together naturally in a metaphor.

But when Fremantle poet Natalie Damjanovich-Napoleon’s toddler took to whacking some chrysalises off the side of her house while living in the US, the result was the award-winning poem If There is a Butterfly That Drinks Tears.

“When I realised what he was doing, my whole heart just sunk; I screamed at him, and he started crying,” Damjanovich-Napoleon said. 

“The poem was about drawing a metaphor between the toddler and Trump and what humans do and environmental destruction.”

It won the KSP poetry prize in 2019 and is now the title of a new collection of Damjanovich-Napoleon’s poems which is being launched at the Chesterfield Lounge in Fremantle on October 13.

The title was also inspired by an article Damjanovich-Napoleon read about Julia butterflies that land on the eyes or turtles, crocodiles and even humans to slake their thirst with their tears.

I thought it was just such a beautiful image. I wanted to use it somewhere.”

Damjanovich-Napoleon says the first poems in the collection deal with the complexities of motherhood.

“I was also wanting to write about what it was like raising a child in the wake of the Trump presidency and all the accompanying anxieties that went with that. 

“I wanted to tell stories about joy, loss, and the surreal aspects of becoming a mother as well.

“Each woman’s experience of birthing and motherhood is unique, monumental, and worthy of being written and read about in both heroic and in the ways.”

If There is a Butterfly That Drinks Tears 

Natalie Damjanovich-Napoleon.

Launch October 13, 7pm at the Chesterfield Lounge, Bar Orient

Published by Life Before Man Books, stocked at New Edition Bookshop


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