A pianist dreams that he’s hired by a wrecking company to
ruin a piano with his fingers . . .
On the day of the piano wrecking concert, as he’s
dressing, he notices a butterfly annoying a flower in his window
box. He wonders if the police should be called. Then he thinks
maybe the butterfly is just a marionette being manipulated by
its master from the window above.
Suddenly everything is beautiful. He begins to cry.

Then another butterfly begins to annoy the first butterfly.
He again wonders if he shouldn’t call the police.
But, perhaps they are marionette-butterflies? He thinks
they are, belonging to rival masters seeing whose butterfly can
annoy the other’s the most.

And this is happening in his window box. The Cosmic
Plan: Distant Masters manipulating minor Masters who, in turn,
are manipulating tiny butterfly-Masters who, in turn, are
manipulating him . . . A universe webbed with strings!
Suddenly it is all so beautiful; the light is strange . . .
Something about the light! He begins to cry . . .

Analysis, meaning and summary of Russell Edson's poem The Marionettes Of Distant Masters

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