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It is funny how a few days ago I wrote a poem about a horde of moths clambering about to get into my room and now I’ve come upon a poem written about the EXACT SAME THING! Of course, William Dewitt Snodgrass does it better.

Flipping randomly through my American Modern poetry anthology, I come across this short poem on moth behavior.

Lying Awake

This moth caught in the room tonight
Squirmed up, sniper-style, between
The rusty edges of the screen;
Then, long as the room stayed light,

Lay here, content, in some cornerhole.
Now that we’ve settled into bed
Though, he can’t sleep. Overhead,
He throws himself at the blank wall.

Each night hordes of these flutters haunt
And climb my study windowpane;
Fired by reflection, their insane
Eyes gleam; they know what they want.

How do the petulant things survive?
Out in the fields they have a place
And proper work, furthering the race;
Why this blind fanatical drive

Indoors? Why rush at every spark,
Cigar, headlamp, or railway warning
To break off your wings and starve by morning?
And what could a moth fear in the dark

Compared with what you meet inside?
Still, he rams the fluorescent face
Of the clock, thinks that’s another place
Of light and families, where he’ll hid.

We ought to trap him in a jar,
Or come, like the white-coats, with a net
And turn him out toward living. Yet
We don’t; we take things as they are.


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