Boakesey Closs is the ninth Manx Bard.

Each month, Boakesey will be sharing one of her poems with us, and letting us know some of the thoughts and ideas that inspired it.

This month, Boakesey’s poem is inspired by Holocaust Memorial Day.

It’s a strange month, February, with an almost liminal feel to it.

We hope we’re past the worst of the winter; the days are getting noticeably longer, but we’re still a good way off Spring.

It’s also the month in which my birthday falls, although I’ve long since stopped counting and don’t have much to celebrate.

I’m not complaining, however, especially bearing in mind the horrific events taking place around the world.

As a poet/bard, I’m sometimes told I should sit firmly on the fence and not become politicised, but I disagree.

I believe it is the duty of communicators, whether they be poets, writers, journalists or other media reporters to share the truth to the general population.

This will include things that some people don’t want to hear and others that perhaps people in authority don’t want us, mere plebs, to hear.

At the end of January each year, Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) is commemorated around the world.

The hope was, and still is, that in remembering the atrocities committed, it will prevent similar events taking place in the future.

Sadly, it hasn’t worked yet and there were calls among some people to not have HMD this year because of the ongoing situation in Gaza and elsewhere. I strongly disagree with this.

To me, the current hostilities show exactly why the world needs to be reminded of the past and urged not to make the same mistakes again.

This month’s poem was originally intended to be read at the Douglas HMD service.

In it, the victims of the Holocaust are depicted as butterflies, but I have tried to include an element of hope, too.

Finally, I wish to praise the fearless reporters who knowingly go to dangerous places in order to bear witness to, and tell us the truth of, world events.

The freedom of our press is so often taken for granted but without these brave people we would only have propaganda from ‘official’ sources to inform us, not eye-witness accounts, good or bad.

Have a good February, everyone.


The butterflies are gone now.

Striking beauty; vibrant colours -

Young and old and everything in between.

Different types and forms from

all over the lands.

Even the slightly imperfect dazzled us,

Flittering and skittering

in their own unique ways.

Millions of them

Trapped in vile invisible nets.

No lepidopterist did this, but monsters

and those who did their bidding.

Innocent butterflies, no longer free

to live as they please, delighting us

in the process. Contributing to

humanity and society as only they could.

Glory, joy and talent lost.

Fragile wings torn or crumpled or

completely ripped away, they’re caught

and transported in their millions

to unsuspected doom.

We know how their story ends. The

fragility of their freedom

obliterated by those who would

exterminate them all for ever more.

Yet, remember this

The butterflies are gone,

But deeply, safely, hidden

are the chrysalises, that soon

will produce new generations

to fly, soar and renew our Faith

In the new Spring of Freedom.