The History of the Butterfly, Part 13: Henry Gets a Little Weird

Henry W. Parker, the poet who described the Poweshiek skipper seemed to have a fairly consistent theme in his poetry.  Unless it was for some special event, his poetry always seemed to have some kind of religious theme and never strayed too far from convention.  He talked about love, but never went too far out of his society’s conventions.

 However, he also wrote some stories that were pretty interesting and a little weird.  Published in the high-priced magazine “American Whig Review” and also in his book Poems, he called them prose-poems.

 “New Wonders of the Mammoth Cave” was published in Poems.  In it, Henry describes finding a living creature that he calls Oo. Oo is pale, almost transparent.  He stands seven feet high, twelve inches around the waste, and weighs twenty pounds.  Oh, he also has five-foot long bat-like wings.

 I have reprinted on my Poweshiek Skipper Project web site the story “Von Blixum’s Heroic Experiment”.  This is a science-fiction story written in a humorous style.  The narrator discovers an interesting character who is able to transform the essence of his physical body into a form that can travel along a telegraph line into mechanical equipment—a modified suit of armor.  How does he do this?  Essentially by taking a very long cold shower.  Not to give too much away, but it is a story of teleportation gone horribly, horribly wrong.

There were a few other equally strange prose-poems in the book that I won’t go into at this time.

Henry was about 28 when his book Poems was published.  His published works were more conventional in later years.

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About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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