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A Palette of Patience (An Angel Poem)

October 30, 2019


NOTE:  To mark the celebration of my Leader Dog Willow’s sixth birthday on October 19, 2019, I wrote the following “angel poem”–which I, with great gratitude, dedicate to Willow.


A Palette of Patience


a poem in two parts by Alice Jane-Marie Massa




One day,

when my Leader Dog and I were walking east toward the lake,

A lady stopped me and had to tell me:

“I have been watching you and your guide dog.

Four butterflies have been flying around her.

I think one even landed on her,

but she kept concentrating on her work.”


I just smiled and thanked the pedestrian.

Then, upon that Wordwalk,

I began creating in my mind

an angel story for the reason

my British Black Labrador–

Leader Dog Willow–

is so especially blessed

with a Heavenly patience.




With an autumn leaf as a palette

and a paintbrush crafted of

purple chrysanthemums and lavender,

the angel-in-waiting,

using a technique of pointillism,

paints dots of patience

onto the wings of each butterfly.


When a group of angels-in-waiting

are ready to celebrate their graduation,

they release a flutter of butterflies

to migrate to Earth.


Waiting in line, …

Waiting for a bus, …

Waiting for a cab, …

Waiting for an arrival, …

Waiting for paint to dry, …

Waiting at a doctor’s office, …

Waiting for the dough to rise, …

Waiting for a job offer, …

Waiting for the light to turn green, …

Waiting for the rain to stop, …

Waiting for a call, …

Waiting for the repair person, …

Waiting for spring, …


Did you plant some butterfly bushes?

When the butterfly took a flight path

around you,

did you not catch a little patience

as it floated off the delicate wings

of the Heavenly butterfly?

No catcher’s mitt,

no butterfly net required:

just open your hands,

and the patience will absorb into

a waiting heart.


* * *


Wishing you and all around you some Heavenly patience,

Alice and Leader Dog Willow

P.S.  Happy Halloween, too!


October 30, 2019, Wednesday



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  1. Dear Alice,
    I love the beautiful images in this poem. Having raised butterflies at the preschool from the caterpillar stage beginning at about one half inch in length and growing to nearly two inches, then hanging upside down in the jar to slowly form the chrysalis, and finally to the miraculous emergence as a colorful butterfly—this miracle of life occurs in the span of three to four weeks! This spring I will remind the eager five-year-olds that patience is necessary for the metamorphosis. Although the butterflies seem happy in their enclosed garden, they are so excited when taken outside into the bright sunshine where they eagerly fly away, no doubt looking to greet a small black Labrador.
    Bless sweet Willow for her patience and devotion,

    • Hi, Mary–Thanks for commenting and for introducing the “butterfly world” to so many students of yours through so many years.  Patient Willow thanks you also.

          The Halloween snowstorm brought us officially 6.8 inches of snow (total from Wednesday night into Thursday).

      Happy November!

      Alice and Willow

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