Windows thrown open in vain –
indoors and out
the same breathless density of heat
(nightfall bringing no relief) and then
the moths came-
flattening themselves on walls and ceilings
like notes on a bulletin board, like poems
intent on being read.
Buff Ermine, Blood Vein, Ruby Tiger –
in their silks and satins
and powdered furs;
Rosy Footman, Carpet Moth –
priests of the night, their dusty vestments
looped and veined with glyphs.
I stalked the house with a camera, snapping
with journalistic fervour,
the alien invasion.
Grass Emerald, Clouded Silver – names
I scarcely knew at the time but would soon track down,
poring over colour-plates, comparing;
Oak Eggar, Magpie, Lime-speck Pug –
neighbours who call to introduce themselves
and are never seen again.
They’re out there now
on buddleia and broom –
on ragwort, sorrel and dock –
in that parallel universe
we call the night – each one
silent as a ghost – but believed in
having once been seen.
© Anthony Watts