The Effect of a Butterfly


The butterfly flapping here in my garden
might be somehow changing something in China.
Perhaps, this is not chaos but synchronicity.
Far away, a child watches another butterfly
and is thinking about me writing this.


In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.

The term, “butterfly effect,” is associated with the work of Edward Lorenz. His metaphorical, not literal, example was that a tornado’s exact time of formation and the exact path it takes could be influenced by minor perturbations such as the flapping of the wings of a distant butterfly several weeks earlier.

A very small change in initial conditions can create a significantly different outcome. It’s a theory I consider valid for much more than the weather.

Ode for Stanley in His Garden

van Gogh irises

some of Vincent van Gogh’s irises

It’s early for irises, Stanley. But today

daffodils are shouting yellow and white calls

to me from my garden, “Come outside!

Leave that poem for tonight! Touch blooms!”

Maybe it was you, Stanley, calling me.


still life