I first got interested in Japanese poetry when I was in my early 20s and I always remembered this particular poem. The poem said ‘I would learn of their dreams in flowers but ah, butterflies have no voice’. And when you think about it a butterfly lives for such a brief period of time, even within the butterfly’s dreams it would be dreaming about flowers because that’s really the only experience that the butterflies had. So I wanted to make a painting that was unbelievably beautiful I hope, and pretty, and yet to take it away from just being pretty, to find a kind of graphic device to make it have real power. So I wrote the poem in Japanese on one panel and the poem in English on another. Now I can’t write Japanese but one of my assistants is Japanese: she writes it out and I copy it and I trust that it is the same kind of words. I’ve made a number of paintings about this particular poem and I hope that I will continue to do so. And this painting has travelled to lots of countries and I wanted a painting like this to be able to be arranged in different kinds of ways: you can rearrange the panels in any way that you would feel. But it was not just the opportunity to paint a very pretty picture but I think it was an opportunity to work with poetry in a way that might give people more and more reason to look again at this particular painting or think more again about that particular poem.