Saturday, July 11, 2009

Schmetterlingstraum - Dream of the Butterfly

Gulf Fritillary [Agraulis vanillae] © Photo Juergen Kuehn - groß/large

Der Schmetterlingstraum

Einst träumte mir,
Chuang Tzu,
ich sei ein Schmetterling.
Ein schwebender Schmetterling,
der sich wohl und wunschlos fühlte
und nichts wusste von
Chuang Tzu.

erwachte ich
und merkte,
dass ich wieder
Chuang Tzu

Nun weiß ich nicht,
bin ich Tschuang Tschou,
dem träumte,
ein Schmetterling zu sein,
oder bin ich ein
dem träumt, er sei
Chuang Tzu.

Und doch ist sicherlich zwischen
Chuang Tzu
und dem
ein Unterschied,
denn gerade diesen nennen wir ja
Wandlung der Substanz zu Einzelwesen.

(4. Jahrhundert v. Christi)

Gulf Fritillary [Agraulis vanillae] © Photo Juergen Kuehn - groß/large

Next is how Herbert A. Giles rendered
the famous "Dream of the Butterfly" from the Zhuangzi into English:

Cloudless Sulphur [Phoebis sennae] © Photo Juergen Kuehn - groß/large

Dream of the Butterfly

Once upon a time,
I, Chuang Tzu,
dreamt I was a butterfly,
fluttering hither and thither,
to all intents and purposes a butterfly.
I was conscious only of following
my fancies as a butterfly,
and was unconscious of my individuality
as a man.

I awaked,
And there I lay,
myself again.

Now I do not know
whether I was then a man
dreaming I was a butterfly,
or whether I am now a butterfly,
dreaming I am a man.

Between a man
and a butterfly
there is necessarily a barrier.
The transition is called

(4th century before Christ)

Long-tailed Skipper [Urbanus proteus] © Photo Juergen Kuehn - groß/large

All butterfly photos are taken on
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA


  1. They are lovely! Beautiful colours and captures!

  2. Just absolutely superb photos - butterflies, too, are my nemesis in regards to photography...these are so colorful, so sharp, so just plain beautiful!

    The poem hits home, too. What is reality? Sometimes it gets confusing! I don't know from metempsychosis, though.

    Hilton Head must be a butterfly paradise!

  3. Thank you: with these beautiful images the writing of Chuang Tzu is even more fascinating.

    One day a butterfly flew in the room where I
    was and I like to think that her is entered
    in my world and my world came into her


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