Archives for posts with tag: moths

Hemaris diffinis
by Karen Massey 

Her name is little creature is
“Hummingbird Moth”
O hover in a flower
and show off handsome colours
Friend crept up
for a better look
and felt a deep sense of
O moth of see-through wings
and daytime habits. Caterpillars
feed on variety. Adults
are on the wing in May.
O winged sphinx.
O Snowberry Clearwing.

SOURCE: “Hemaris diffinis” by Karen Massey is based on page 50 of Bugs of Ontario by John Acorn, Illustrations by Ian Sheldon (Lone Pine Publishing, 2003).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Karen Massey writes in Ottawa, Canada. She has an MA, has published one chapbook, and her work has won local and regional prizes and appeared in a range of literary journals and anthologies. Recent online publication includes, and one of her poems was featured on the Chaudiere Press blog during National Poetry Month 2014.

by Hayden Carruth

Late night on the porch, thinking
of old poems. Another day’s
work, another evening’s,
done. A large moth, probably
Catocala, batters the screen,
but lazily, its strength spent,
its wings tattered. It perches
trembling on the sill. The sky
is hot dark summer, neither
moon nor stars, air unstirring,
darkness complete; and the brook
sounds low, a discourse fumbling
among obstinate stones. I
remember a poem I wrote
years ago when my wife and
I had been married twenty-
two days, an exuberant
poem of love, death, the white
snow, personal purity. now
I look without seeing at
a geranium on the sill;
and, still full of day and evening,
of what to do for money,
I wonder what became of
purity. The world is a
complex fatigue. The moth tries
once more, wavering desperately
up the screen, beating, insane,
behind the geranium. It is an
immense geranium,
the biggest I’ve ever seen,
with a stem like a small tree
branching, so that the two thick arms
rise against the blackness of
this summer sky, and hold up
ten blossom clusters, bright bursts
of color. What is it — coral,
mallow? Isn’t there a color
called “geranium”? No matter.
They are clusters of richness
held against the night in quiet
exultation, five on each branch,
upraised. I bought it myself
and gave it to my young wife
years ago, in a plastic cup
with a 19cent seedling
from the supermarket, now
so thick, leathery-stemmed,
and bountiful with blossom.
The moth rests again, clinging.
The brook talks. The night listens.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Hayden Carruth (1921-2008) wrote more than 30 books of poetry, four books of literary criticism, essays, a novel, and two poetry anthologies. He served as editor of Poetry magazine, as poetry editor of Harper’s, and as advisory editor of The Hudson Review 20 years. He was awarded a Bollingen Prize as well as Guggenheim and NEA fellowships. In 1992, he  received the National Book Critics Circle Award for his Collected Shorter Poems and in 1996 the National Book Award in poetry for his Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey. Shortly after the debut of Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey, he won the $50,000 Lannan Literary Award.  Other awards included the Carl Sandburg Award, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, the Paterson Poetry Prize, the 1990 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and the Vermont Governor’s Medal and the Whiting Award. (Read more at

Painting: “Geranium Sketch” by Declan O’Doherty, based on an idea by Catherine Carey, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



by R.T. Smith

Downstairs early to mill
the morning coffee,
I find the kitchen wall

beside the lamp
is littered with moths
exhausted from a night

of circling the globe,
as if its light were
the source of joy.

As I approach in slippers
they hardly flutter
but hold their postures,

perhaps in their small
thoughts counting on me,
a frequent dreamer

still drowsy from reverie,
to show them mercy.
Pouring the beans, then

turning the worn handle
till the brass gears growl,
I study every wing

design—solid, striped
or mottled. To the Greeks
they were all psyche,

spirit drawn to flame,
but this August morning
I wish, before they perish,

to revive us all
with the scent of chicory
and conduct them out

the kitchen window
singing their luminous
individual names.