You don’t remember what you were
given on the way here … A pale moth
labours sideways across and inter-
section under which you sit listening to,
The National, at a red light. The woman
in the car adjacent never moves a muscle.
Against a strengthening westerly the moth holds the grainy
shifts of an ECG and you know
it used to be thought that the planets dressed
the soul. Tumbling Pharisee and Sadducee,
in and out of law, the wings are caught in a dis-
integration of their own making.
Chicken pasta gone from the silver
fork, except the few places the tongue forgot,
as it rattles in the cupholder, revives
a prayer that says, so what,
we are too much clothed! A fidelity
shared with the vague
rigour of the moth in its knotty, sancti-
monious breathing, constellation
broken. And for a while the mechanical
sky, the evening heat shuffling amidst the stupor,
the divide between death and life is parenthetical
to a mountain-hope bringing news
of some incautious act here offered
by such ungainly rowing. Your mother’s hand
in yours upon her deathbed
blessing another lang-
uage, as at first, opening
and closing to let the note return to the heart –
occurs now, almost embryonically,
otherwise, you become a giant
and that part of you that desires
water never shows. Suddenly rare, a silken,
Epimethean movement towards a life
without the body’s
distance overwhelms, becoming mourning
pure, funeralled in the eucalypt-
us blossoms the moth
bends into and is gone.
About the Poem
At the time of writing this poem, there is a deep ferment of unrest in the world. War in many countries, an intensity of animosity and terror; economically with inflation and cost of living pressures, socially and spiritually.
At this time too, I have been enriched by considering these Giant unchecked appetites in us as I have watched the Minnesota Men’s Conference this year and sought to wrestle and integrate some of these moods into a poem. I find that small creatures have much to teach me and so it is the humble moth which is at the centre throughout the poem.
About the Author
Glenn McPherson is a Sydney-based poet. He has been widely published in Australian Journals and Anthologies. In 2022, he featured in the Newcastle and ACU Poetry Prize Anthology, and was published in the Best of Australian Poetry 2022. In 2023, he was a finalist in the Gwen Harwood Poetry Competition, shortlisted for the South Coast Writers Poetry Prize; published in Topical Poetry Journal, and InDaily/Poets Corner.