Matthew James Friday – Three Poems


Butterflies in Longji, China

Two yellow butterflies chase
each other up their own tornado,
a pursuit of passion, past my eye line,
higher than the tree-sized bamboo,
higher than the green mountain arm,
muscled with forests, veined in paths
bleeding through ancient rice terraces;
higher than that ragged cloth of cloud
that grumbles hungry June heat,
then gulps up the loving pair.

Black Kite Dreams

Nobody notices her.
Too busy shopping, on smartphones,
hiding away from Hong Kong heat.
She swoops down from the thermals,
as sudden as a Jumbo Jet
landing at old Kai Tak airport.
Hunting, perhaps, or showing off
how her tail feathers scoop air
like a knife wielding hand, slicing
left, right, low over a tree,
up and around the trunk
of a tower of concrete nests,
She spirals three times,
amazing the hazy air.
Nobody notices. She disappears
into dreams of trees.

Falling Balloon

A small Chinese girl drops
her balloon. It falls, rolls
away. She looks at it, reaching
unable to reach, speechless.
Parents busy building a robot
with her old brother. No tears.
I reach and pick up the balloon.
I give it back and she accepts it,
looking up at me like I’m an
odd looking giant angel
that helped her rescue
her balloon.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

Beauty is yesterday and my memory of it. Beauty is a November day so brilliantly blue that even the roots of winter wither into forgetfulness. Beauty are the corridors of orange and yellow trees in the city park. So brightly colourful you forget the slow death that describes them. Beauty is the continually falling leaves, filling the air with fluttering action. Beauty are the leaves on the ground, the leaves of the last days fossilized in the frost.

But more than that, because beauty is also the sound of laughter: a grown an snapping arms at falling trees, being a leaf-eating monster for his toddling son who giggles and runs, all limbs in waving steam-engine motion. The fact that this is a German garden, and the father and son Chinese and I am an English observer is also beautiful because it peels back our differences and reveals, beautifully, how alike we all are. We are all just children delighting in the world.

This for me is beauty in its truest form.


Matthew James Friday has had poems and short stories published in magazines and literary journals worldwide, including A Handful of Stones, The Brasilia Review (Brazil), Cha: An Asian Literary Journal (Hong Kong), Eastlit (East Asia), Third Wednesday (USA), Of Nepalese Clay (Nepal) and We Are a Website New Literary Journal (Singapore). More at: