Revolutionary Hope

I read In the Time  of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez in one weekend.  It was the kind of book that made me set aside my homework and other obligations and sit on my bed for hours, completely enchanted. The book, though it followed the progression of a revolution, was really a story of people. Four sisters against the world. When reading,  I started to see parallels between La Mariposa and today’s revolutionaries. I wanted to highlight this in my poem, create a tapestry of courage and strength and power. What came from this idea was a series of mirrors between “you” the butterflies, and “she” the new activists.  And so I put together a narrative of revolution, told through people.



You pointed painted arrows down the throat of a lion,

Three huntresses, one prey,

The courage of youth and fury,

Trujillo, did you know whose eyes those were?


Now she stands, in Pakistan,

on a bus, crushed in by a fearful crowd,

Clothed in navy and ivory,

Facing a cold, silver, enemy.

Taliban, do you know what spark you lit?


You danced and bargained your way,

In a twirling dress, casting down a pair of dice

Keeping your eyes leveled on an education,

El Jefe, did you know what gamble you lost?


Now she writes and writes,

When exhausted by the inability around her,

She flees the classroom and shouts down the gullet of the law.

UN, do you know who speaks in your midst?


You bound together over an ideal

Found a god in people,

A faith in the revolution,

Campesinos, Guardias, did you know whose strength you awoke?

The strength of a mother.


Now she takes both,

 A scarf because she believes

 And also, a pen because she will be free.

 World, do you see how great Malala can be?


You were one, La Mariposa,

The girls who hunted the beast,

The strength you found,

The hands turned from love letters to bombs,

The courage to love a half-sister.

SIM agents, did you know the family you surrounded?


Now she, lady liberty, tries to welcome another family,

Watches the long road,

Sees the pain when he calls them evil.

Sees the children passed through the barbed-wire border,

A sea of hands pushing towards a future,

Washington, what will come of this division?


You found a power in a jail cell,

Told the world to listen well,

You where marched and beaten and starved

And still a black towel was your flag.

Guards, did you know who you tried to break?


The roar she faces is the explosion of gun powder

The scent of thick blood,

A crime scene cold, because no one cares it is there.

Tonya Harvey, Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, Dana Martin,

Reporters, when will you see, has her death finally earned your attention?


You were struck down,

Cast into a roaring sea,

And eaten in the waves of ignorance.

World, did you know what you lost, you mourned, but did you listen?


You, oh you, Mariposa,

You have the strength of all the armies of the world

And the conviction of queens,

I say, Mariposa, you built yourselves,

You shaped your bones from the clay of faith

You brewed your blood from potions of strength

You lit your heart with the light of courage.

And you gave us hope. A hope to continue to fight,

Hope in this mirror's reflection, your time and now,

Hope as maybe you did, so we can too.


Rebecca F. Wallace is a writer of poetry and short stories and though she dabbles in other genres, she always comes back to these two. She has taken classes at and been part of the Lighthouse community for almost four years, and is looking forward to her fifth. When she is not writing, she is doing homework for high school, reading books on natural science, or cuddling with her dog.