J. Jacqueline’s “Butterfly of a Heart” is a collection of thirty-six poems arranged in to sections as “Life as it is”, “Friendship”, “Mei and Papa”, “God’s Creation”, “Give Thanks”, “Heartless Heart” and “Dream and Love”. “Butterfly of a Heart” reads like a child’s prayer, longing to make right the wrongs the world had done. The poems are evocative of the innocence of life and the joy it contains. There is a yearning towards the past long gone, and this is coupled with a romantic eagerness to bring back the wisdom of the yesteryears for guidance and assistance:
Our lives run in your colour.
Dearest Father, turned to thunder,
Dearest Mother, the lovely dead
Jacqueline’s poetry is a call to “wake up now…to see your children through; The pain of corruption and idleness, The pain of arrogant selfishness.” While the poems are about life, friendship, loss, memory and dreams, there is an acceptance of responsibility for the sufferings of others:
All the wrongs things I have done.
In his face it shows.
The poems mourn the manner in which we treat the world with a “lustful ecstasy” and how “we mock ourselves by our selfish acts.” Mankind in their attitude of ‘mockery” spare no one, nothing is sacred or dear.
We mock our Gods by our sinful thoughts.
We mock our children, our parents for the life they give.
Life is spent behind the veil and we are all actors in the grand scheme of life. To add, life changes every so swiftly “behind the thick curtain.” All that is good can turn bad and all good, bad. “The truth become lie, And Lie becomes truth”. We all live caught up in a deception and are unwilling to give up this “curtain”, this veil. Jacqueline evokes the desolation and loneliness in her poems. There is an all-pervading “sadness”:
Lonely moon I am jealous of you
The poem “Colours” evokes the child witness to the father’s financial troubles how his his anger “thundered” through while the mother stands helpless yet looking beautiful and upright. The humbleness of the granmother shines through:
And the lines from “Your Last Breath” –
‘The little things that you do;
With nothing in return you seek
Loss is further a communication with God and the realisation that “Life has to go on for the living,” even though one may not be able to comprehend or “Never quite understand it”. In this friendship one feels the depth of forgiveness.
In poems such as “Aren’t we good enough”, “Dear Men”, “Dear Women” and “Mad Men”, Jacqueline minces no words to address the gender biases prevalent in the world today. To the men she writes:
Sober down your pride and ego.
Your strength is great by a dozen,
Your wisdom is vast by a second,
But nothing is special about them
And to the women, she writes:
Just be a woman,
As best as you can,
This is not a race or a competition;
Gratitude and thankfulness to God fills most of the poems. The poet looks up to God to enable here “follow the dream”.
I look up to you and ask you to guide me,
So I can follow the dream that is made for me
This book of poem reads like the psalms of David, a hymn to God. They are truly personal and engage with the reader selflessly. There is the anguish of being hurt by all that we as humans have become. There is the pain for the loss of innocence, a loss of the foothold that made us who we are:
Not here – not there,
Where do I belong?
Between hell and earth;
No where I want to be
The little things that you do;
With nothing in return you seek,
This book “Butterfly for a Heart” is frail and tender, beautiful and sentimental. It lays out with simplicity, through the poems, all that makes us human.