500 Butterflies
From Around the World
Ken Preston-Mafham
The cycle of producing baby butterflies starts with two adult butterflies in love. They mate (back-to-back!) and eggs are laid on a favored leaf ... soapberry, yucca, mallow, cow wheat and, appropriately, the passionflower.

What Walt Kelly called "a catterpiggle" emerges, and commences to stuff itself so full of leaf it blows up, several times, trying to loosen its belt, so to speak, but since it has no belt, exploding noisily, out of its very skin (the very rainforest echoes with the pops of caterpillars bursting).

In shame, the caterpillar goes into withdrawal, hangs itself upside down ... for a month or so ... after which a wet butterfly crawls out, dries its wings, and begins the whole loony journey all over again.

Preston-Mafham tells us that there are 20,000 species of butterflies all over the world, give or take a few thousand, and 500 --- 514 to be exact --- are shown here in photographs, listed neatly by family, along with range, principal food plant, wingspan, and scientific name. The editor explains to us that butterflies come from the superfamily Papilionnoidea.

An erroneous etymology claims that the word butterfly came from a metathesis of "flutterby"; however, the root is the Old English word was buttorfleoge, which means flapping (or 'flopping') butter. According to Grimm's Law, it devolved into the word we now use.

Unlike Judy Burris and Wayne Richards, Preston-Mafham believes that there is a definite difference between the butterfly and the moth. The forewing and the hind wing are separate in the former, joined in the latter. Antennae, in general, are shorter in moths, but the butterfly excels in two regards. One is setting our hearts aflutter as a Pipevine Swallowtail dips by when we are out in the garden, trimming the pansies. Moths aren't allowed to do that ... their state in life is to fly in your candle and die.

The other difference has to do with names. Mother-of-pearl Hairstreak. Variable Diadem. Orange Daggerwing [Fig. 1]. The Lady's Maid. The Bespectacled Eyemark. The Fritillary (Dark Green, Silver-washed) ... "fritillary" being one of the loveliest words in the English language, well-favored by Vladimir Nabokov.

The Melissa Blue can be found at Fig. 2. And direct from Burma we have the Common Posy ... which may be far from common, but certainly merits our affection as a posy.

--- A. W. Allworthy

Gulf Music
Robert Pinsky
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
There are horrors galore here. The cover is the Tibetan "chitipati," intertwined beady-eyed cadavers. The poems are of concentration camps, prisoners, torturers, "the stench of looted bodies."

In "The Dig," beneath the rubble we find "Atrocities of the righteous." On newspapers: "Paper ... titanic Time / That eats its children." And the "Creator Spiritus," in the wake, "the peoples of the world / Sailed trafficking in salt, oil, slaves, and opal." There are poems inspired by Hart Crane (who killed himself) and Anna Akhmatova (three husbands murdered by the NKVD.)

The title poem may be about Professor Longhair and cajun music and the Louisiana Gulf, but there are overtones of another gulf, off there to the east,

    Dollars, dolors. Callings and contrivances. King Zulu. Comus.
    Shepardic ju-ju and verses. Voodoo mojo, Special forces.

"Gulf Music" ends, "O try my tra-la-la, ma la belle, mah walla-woe," which may mean something to someone, somewhere, but it's mostly Greek to me.

--- Lolita Lark

The Nuremberg Legacy
How the Nazi War Crimes Trials
Changed the Course of History

Norbert Ehrenfreund
I can remember (I can still remember!) being at a lighthearted rollicking movie at the Palace Theatre, 1945; it may have been I Married an Angel. When it ended, Movietone News came on, and there were shots of a dark hall piled with hair, another brimming with discarded eyeglasses, another filled with prosthetic devices. There was a final brief shot of corpses piled high and cold and pale.

"They shouldn't be showing things like that," I remember saying as we left. "Yes, they should," said my mother, tightly. Those were the first inklings we had, the first hint.

Ehrenfreund is convinced that the newsreels were not enough. It took Nuremberg Trials --- there were a total of twelve between 1946 and 1949 --- to make the evidence irrefutable. Robert H. Jackson, the chief prosecutor, appointed by President Harry Truman, demanded that the defendants would be tried "by American standards of justice. 'You must put no man on trail,' he said, 'if you are not willing to see him freed if not proven guilty.'"

The result? The author quotes the historian H. R. Trevor-Roper, "Had it not been for this exposure it would have been possible for a new German movement in ten years' time to maintain that the words of Nazi crimes were Allied propaganda easily invented in the hour of such total victory."

    The most important thing about Nuremberg is that it created the record of Nazi aggression and inhumanity, and set precedents that changed the world.

§     §     §

Ehrenfreund finds echoes of these trials in such far-off places as Burma, 1990s Rwanda and 21st Century Cambodia, but they strike closer to home. They "increased American sensitivity to racial injustice and to other endemic infringements of civil liberties."

    Pictures of southern sheriffs attacking peaceful civil rights protesters bear an undeniable resemblance to pictures of SS troopers attacking Jews.

The author came of age at Nuremberg. He was a reporter and copy editor for the Army newspaper Stars and Stripes during the course of the trials. Before Nuremberg, he reports, "it was inconceivable that one could be charged with, much less hanged for, "merely following orders."

Ehrenfreund, a California judge for most of his life, can get bogged down on legalisms. Such as ex post facto. But he is adept in reporting history , and brings the trials --- and their sequelae --- to life.

--- H. W. MacIlvaine
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