• Butterflies in the Chaos

Butterflies in the Chaos – A collective poem

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Hope Streets is a five year project creating a strategic partnership between heritage and youth sectors in the North West.

Laurence Payot has been invited to work with young people in Sefton to imagine new ways of living together. each week, young leaders take it in turn to co-deliver an online session with Laurence for other young people.

While we are all in a cocoon, wouldn’t it be a chance to reinvent how we wish society could become? Could we spread hope for change through simple gestures and ideas to transform the way we think, the way we do, the way we are, the way we communicate, the way we relate and exchange.

Like a caterpillar, we’ve eaten and consumed so much. Now we are forced to slow down, forced to reflect on the things that matter to us most. What do we want to be when we come out of our shell again, what shape and colour will our wings take when we open them again, as if for the first time?


I’m looking at the same view, which I have done for a long time and yet, everything seems different. Because we’re all inside, the world feels so much bigger now.

Do you sometimes feel like a butterfly in the chaos?
Small actions, in such a big world.
Does your voice matter?

I am afraid of moths,
dark, sinister.
Bee’s and wasps.
Maybe, it would be good to be stung by one,
So I know what it feels like,
So I wouldn’t be so scared anymore.

What are you afraid of?

Will the amazon forest disappear?
Will pollution kill us?
When I imagine the future I feel a range of emotions.
The word future both exited and terrifies me.
Terrifies because the world would be in the hands of myself and my generation,
and it seems like a lot of responsibility.
Yet it excites me because there are endless possibilities and opportunities for change.
The future feels like a dream…

Looking over Windermere,
It was emotional for me,
Watching a storm across the sea,
And, from where I was,
I just felt calm, free.
I love the sea.
I love water.
Raindrops tapping on a window.

Having a coffee from Ropes and Twines on Bold street,
Not so much the coffee but the people I get to meet
I couldn’t live without the connections,
Without social interactions.

What if I’m completely forgotten,
Erased from memory?
That would be terrifying.

How do you stop yourself worrying so much?

That’s not a question I want to answer
It’s a question I want to ask
Because I don’t have the answer.
I want to find the answers.

I’m worried about things that will happen to me,
I’m scared of growing old
In a world that’s growing to be
More unpredictable, more deadly.
Is this a world designed for me?

I couldn’t live without books
I couldn’t live without music
Playing from my speakers,
They relax me.

What couldn’t you live without?

I couldn’t live without
My phone
My phone makes me feel safe.
I can speak to whoever I want.

Video games.
They keep my mind occupied,
They keep it busy.

Do you get scared of being bored?

Scared of not knowing what to do,
A fear of being unproductive,
Of slowing down in a world that’s speeding up.
I have things I have to do
We all have things we have to do.
I’m busy, we’re all busy.

And I’m tired,
so tired.

I should get my hot water bottle,
It makes me feel safe and warm.

A cup of tea,
To get this cosy feeling.


I mourn for a sense of normality.

What is normal?
What is it?

I want to know.
Because I don’t know anymore.
It’s lost and I can’t find it.
Because as far as I was aware,
Normal shouldn’t be a world where we value profit over people.
Disastrous leaders, out of control
I’m overindulging into the news and the media,
Fake news,
Manipulated news.

Struggling to maintain a healthy mindset,
Whilst the world is battling for a healthy environment.
Where’s the justice?
I’m angry.

I’m claustrophobic
I’m confined within the tornados of my mind.
A cage wrapped around my thoughts.

What can you hear?

Pages rustling
Voices that don’t know I’m listening to them
My own breathing
A ventilator fan is humming
Keyboards tapping
I’m in the cage.

In the cage I can hear birds singing
They hum a tune.
It’s like I’m playing music from my speakers,
Relaxing, calming, relaxes me.
It’s like a light at the end of the tunnel,
The light hasn’t been switched on just yet
We need to flick the switch
One day, hopefully, the light will come
Because anger can be good
Anger fuels change
Because we are all hoping for a better world.

We shouldn’t be afraid of being forgotten,
Of our voices not being heard.
Because when we come together
There’s a power in our voices
We become a choir
Voices in harmony
Different but beautiful.

People smiling
Animals running
Music blasting
Colour bursting.

Together we realise
That nothing is permanent.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
You are just one person.
One person in a big world.
And I can hear you.
I know what it feels like
To be lonely in a world full of people
But if we’re all lonely, we’re lonely together.
Surely that holds some value.
and I can hear you.

Thank you for listening to me.
Thank you.
It’s been such an interesting experience.
It’s been so nice spending this time with you.
Thank you.

I’m going to ask you some questions now.
But you don’t need to have all the answers.
Some questions don’t have answers.

Do you feel like a butterfly in the chaos?

Do you know yourself? Does it matter if you don’t?

What would you like to see in the future?

If you could have one selfish wish what would it be?

Don’t cheat because it’s not a wish that could end world poverty, or cure disease. A wish for you and only you. What would you choose?

What couldn’t you live without?

Does your voice matter?

What makes you feel uncertain?

Does your voice matter?

Do you need a plan?

Does your voice matter?

What’s your biggest fear?

Does your voice matter?

What are you wildest hopes?

Does your voice matter?

Does your voice matter?

Is your answer yes or no?

A small flap of your wings can create tornados, even if you cannot see them. Small things matter. Your choices matter. Listen to yourself.