Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lesson of the Moth....

Very busy this week, and not so much feeling chatty. Or witty. Or, dare we say it, even brilliant. Got nothing to write about here folks, nothing to see (no pics, get it?) move along... Most days I could knock off a really fun blog post about anything at all, say, Cabel having a sleepover tonight, but the words are failing me.

And the dogs, for their part, won't DO anything exciting. Like last years sleepover, now THAT was a Party!

Can't recall if I ever posted this before, but I've been reading a lot of Don Marquis lately, and I think I will let his words by my post tonight, as he uses them so perfectly. Some nights this is my favorite poem ever, so here you go...

i was talking to a moth
the other evening
he was trying to break into
an electric light bulb
and fry himself on the wires

why do you fellows
pull this stunt i asked him
because it is the conventional
thing for moths or why
if that had been an uncovered
candle instead of an electric
light bulb you would
now be a small unsightly cinder
have you no sense

plenty of it he answered
but at times we get tired
of using it
we get bored with the routine
and crave beauty
and excitement
fire is beautiful
and we know that if we get
too close it will kill us
but what does that matter
it is better to be happy
for a moment
and be burned up with beauty
than to live a long time
and be bored all the while
so we wad all our life up
into one little roll
and then we shoot the roll
that is what life is for
it is better to be a part of beauty
for one instant and then cease to
exist than to exist forever
and never be a part of beauty
our attitude toward life
is come easy go easy
we are like human beings
used to be before they became
too civilized to enjoy themselves

and before i could argue him
out of his philosophy
he went and immolated himself
on a patent cigar lighter
i do not agree with him
myself i would rather have
half the happiness and twice
the longevity

but at the same time i wish
there was something i wanted
as badly as he wanted to fry himself


Lesson of the Moth, by Don Marquis

Love and Moths,


At 16:57 Blogger Phiala said...

Some nights it is hard to decide, isn't it?

At 16:59 Blogger Arwenn said...

New lyrics for El Condor Pasa?

I'd rather be a cockroach than a moth......yes I would.....if I could....

At 17:03 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe playing with four bows can be your new moth goal.

Billy Bones

At 17:05 Blogger Phiala said...

Hm. I believe I will be staying here at work for a bit. The torrential rain would probably extinguish me after I was struck by lightning, but I don't want to rely on that.

At 17:05 Blogger DataGoddess said...

I've got nothing, thanks to the nice drugs for my back.

So I'll just ticky box.

At 17:09 Blogger vampi said...

i have fruit from the fruit guy.
i'm going to see fiddler onthe roof tonight.

i may not emollaite myself, but i can totally understand being singed by beauty.

love me some fiends...

At 17:22 Blogger Na said...

...I surely would...

yeah. i feel like life has these long flat stretches of just-getting-by, then occasionally i begin again to crave beauty and interesting things and to get up off the metaphorical couch and have another look for that flame.

At 17:23 Blogger Na said...

Q + fiends = mental floss

At 17:30 Blogger Uisge said...

Everyone has these times.

At 17:38 Blogger gaypet said...

Somehow, once again, you have said just what I needed to hear. Even if you didn't say it first. That is exactly where I am. I will be flying for the light at the end of August. I hope I don't burn up. But it is time to see. You have that kind of magic for me, Q. Often. Thank you.

At 18:21 Blogger EmilyLady said...

Sometimes I come out with poems like this, and I sigh and scratch it all out and tell myself it's crap. But now I know better, don't I?

At 19:18 Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you said "Don Marquis" I immediately thought of the Moth poem. It is my favorite ever, and I remember posting it to my blog during a National Poetry month several years ago. Many people enjoyed it.

Thanks for reminding me how truly touching it is!

At 19:29 Blogger Siri said...

Speaking of moths to flames, what exactly did you have in mind, Linda, for the Second City in September?

More specifically, when would you have in mind?

And, kudos on placing the Alphabet! You have mad Library Skills!

(My nightly weather forecast for Chicago just popped up. Serendipity? I think not.)

At 19:29 Blogger Dragonsally said...

Na -you make me laugh!

Seems to be my 24 hours for deep thinking - thanks for sharing that Quiche.

At 19:33 Blogger Dragonsally said...

Fiendish bear

At 19:53 Blogger Dan Guy said...

Some nights this is my favourite poem ever:

Variation on the word sleep.
by Margaret Atwood

I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head

and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear

I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center. I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and as you enter
it as easily as breathing in

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.

At 20:29 Blogger EmilyLady said...

You have turned my night into an interesting one, Sally.

I've never heard that poem, Dan ... it's amazingly lovely.

At 20:33 Blogger Dragonsally said...

Nightmares about biting teddy bears Emily?
I agree, the poem Dan posted is lovely.
I can see a Fiendish scramble to share favorite poems.

At 20:39 Blogger Ticia said...

Ticky box. ::waves enthusiastically::

At 20:43 Blogger EmilyLady said...

(waves back)

I did have a lot of nightmares about toys, when I was little, it's true, Sally ...

At 20:49 Blogger gaypet said...

Very good, Dan. Lovely.

My favorite poem:

Barnabus Browning
Was scared of drowning,
So he never would swim
Or get into a boat
Or take a bath
Or cross a moat.
He just sat day and night
With his door locked tight
And the windows nailed down,
Shaking with fear
That a wave might appear,
And he cried so many tears
That they filled up the room
And he drowned.

By Shel Silverstein

At 21:24 Blogger gaypet said...

Well that was meant to be funny but I seem to have driven everyone away. Oops. :P

At 21:30 Blogger One Sock Short said...

Ah, yes, I remember you said you liked that one before. I have to say, its appeal grows.

Not sure what to say about the play tonight. Very well acted, to be sure. Very complicated. Very uncomfortable. It's "Blackbird" by David Harrower. Will have to think about it some more. Whether I want to of not.

Nothing specific yet, Siri. That was something of an impulsive trial balloon. Will see what we can work out soonish.

Is it too much to hope to sleep tonight? Probably.

At 21:40 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

I liked it Gayle! Liked Dan's too! It's a poetry kind of evening.

Welcome Gershwhen, glad you liked it. I really love Archy and Mehitabel tales.

At 21:49 Blogger gaypet said...

I am going to watch a comfort food movie now and then go to bed. Delicatessen or Serenity? Maybe Buckaroo Banzai? We shall see.

Linda, I will have moved by the time your birthday comes around. Maybe you can visit the West Coast when it turns cold in Chicago. :D

Night all! I look forward to reading more poems in the AM.

At 22:14 Blogger One Sock Short said...

Ah Dan, that's a lovely poem. Sort of on the theme, though less beautiful:


Arvin Marvin Lillisbee Fitch
Rode a broomstick like a witch.
Out the windows, over the trees,
Above the hills, across two seas,
And up and up on a wild moonbeam
Till he came to the other side of his dream,
Where he bumped his head a terrible thump
On the top of the dark, and fell ker-flump!--
Down, down, down, down like a piece of lead,
Till he landed--thud!--in his very own bed.

He didn’t cry, he didn’t scream.
He simply said, “When next I dream,
It seems to me it might be wise
To keep my dreams a smaller size.”

So saying, he went back to sleep
And dreamed about such things as sheep,
And birthday parties, and buttercups,
And toothpaste tubes and spotted pups--
Good proper dreams, and none so tall
That he ran any risk of a fall.

Arvin’s dreams were beautiful,
But perhaps a little dull.
In fact, but for the birthday cake
He might as well have stayed awake.
And in his sleep I heard him sigh,
“It was more fun when I dreamed high!”

--by John Ciardi

Here's to learning how to dream high, in spite of the ker-flumps.

At 22:21 Anonymous Lysandwr said...

Beautiful, haunting, occasionally snick-worthy poetry....

Fiend news....


Okay, it was definitely worth peeking in for the few minutes I had free.

On the personal side, there should be *news* on the working front soon. I am set to step it up a notch, and become a David Brin title. (there's your clue :) )

At 22:35 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Lovely, OSS!

LYS! We need to know these things! We miss you when yr not around!

At 23:04 Blogger ariandalen said...

Ah...good poetry tonight. It will have to wait until the morning for me to post any as I need to go to bed. I haven't gotten enough sleep this week and now have the beginnings of a sore throat and mouth ulcer. :P

Dream, oh Fiends!

At 23:19 Blogger AletaMay said...

Love all the poetry.


Good Night and Good Day.

At 00:21 Blogger spacedlaw said...

Just to break this high brow poety atmosphere, I'd like to point you fiends out towards Eddie Campbell's blog. He put up the funniest and most amazing video.

At 01:26 Blogger Marjorie said...

Loving the poetry.
(drive-by quickie commnet - Be back later)

At 02:15 Blogger vampi said...

i have a very instant relationship with poetry, i either love it and want to read it again savoring each word, or i hate it and want to purge it from my memory. consequently, there are few poems that aren't attached to music that have stuck with me.

this one is sad, but it has stuck with me since elementary school. i used it often in speech class.

The Butterfly
The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.
Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing
against a white stone....

Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly ’way up high.
It went away I’m sure
because it wished
to kiss the world good-bye.

For seven weeks I’ve lived in here,
Penned up inside this ghetto.
But I have found what I love here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut branches in the court.

Only I never saw another butterfly.

That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don’t live in here, in the ghetto.
Pavel Friedman, June 4, 1942

At 04:06 Blogger louisa said...

Morning. Feels very good to wake to poetry on a Friday morning, good call Q. I read the moth poem recently and I'm trying to recall where; now that it's made its second appearance it is obviously meant to enter into my Good Poems File. I do like it lots. The Margaret Atwood is already in my GPF, that last line is a killer. Going to read the others this evening at home when they won't be pressured or rushed by work demands.

As we're sharing, the poem that's been haunting me since I stumbled across it last year is by Stephen Crane:

Love met me at noonday,
—Reckless imp,
To leave his shaded nights
And brave the glare,—
And I saw him then plainly
For a bungler,
A stupid, simpering, eyeless bungler,
Breaking the hearts of brave people
As the snivelling idiot-boy cracks his bowl,
And I cursed him,
Cursed him to and fro, back and forth,
Into all the silly mazes of his mind,
But in the end
He laughed and pointed to my breast,
Where a heart still beat for thee, beloved.

At 05:42 Blogger Dan Guy said...

Good morning, fiends!

A companion poem to last night's:


Keep me from going to sleep too soon
Or if I go to sleep too soon
Come wake me up. Come any hour
Of night. Come whistling up the road.
Stomp on the porch. Bang on the door.
Make me get out of bed and come
And let you in and light a light.
Tell me the northern lights are on
And make me look. Or tell me clouds
Are doing something to the moon
They never did before, and show me.
See that I see. Talk to me till
I'm half as wide awake as you
And start to dress wondering why
I ever went to bed at all.
Tell me the waking is superb.
Not only tell me but persuade me.
You know I'm not too hard persuaded.

--Robert Francis

At 06:02 Blogger spacedlaw said...

Somehow I ended up with an extra copy of Alan Moore's Black Dossier of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Is anyone here interested?
It's just collecting dust in my office and would be better employed elsewhere...

At 06:22 Blogger Dan Guy said...

Why yes, yes I am.

At 06:42 Blogger spacedlaw said...

Adjugé. You haven't moved since I last sent you something, Dan?

At 07:18 Blogger dabbler said...

Yum. Poetry. And mostly new. The Moth and Shel Silverstein I know, the others are welcome into my world! Vampi, yours felt like a punch in the gut. Powerful, not bad. And 'Variations on the word sleep' is lovely.

Did a lot of inside-my -head work last weekend, all good, but am longing for plodding sameness as it sorts itself out a bit. So what do I get? Immanent arrival of a small horde of dearly loved, but anything but peaceful young'uns. Including an unexpected one, known since birth, who a) didn't bother to let us know s/he was coming, and b) has changed gender in the few years since last here. I love this person, but wish I were feeling more social and less hermit. That's a challenging change to cope with in someone I held as a baby. Not bad, mind, but a stretch.

At 07:21 Blogger dabbler said...

And, all will no doubt be fine when she is here in person. The contemplation is certain to be more disquieting than the reality.

At 07:31 Blogger dabbler said...

Also, watching the sheep made my cry at the sheer wild creativity and determination and cooperation of the whole thing.

It's same reaction I have to the interviews with WETA at the end of the Rings DVD, when they talk about the intensity of respect and love for Tolkien's vision that went into the creation of every frigging detail of everything in those movies.

Um. good crying, that. thanks! ( I had seen this once before, and lost glad to find it again.)

And now I must find enough space in my house for said horde.

At 07:39 Blogger Dan Guy said...

I have not, indeed, moved since your last delightful package of caring.

I used to get Blake and Yeats mixed up.

At 07:57 Blogger EmilyLady said...

Funny, I think I've mixed up Blake and Yeats too. One of my favorite Blake quotes is, "Some are born to sweet delight, some are born to endless night." Fits very well with modern times.

At 08:08 Blogger Na said...

{{{dabbler}}} you've got a lot going on. sounds tiring but in that good mind-body-soul stretchy way.

At 10:38 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

Waking up to find no one had bought more milk for tea. This made me very grumpy until I remembered I live alone.

(No, one cannot send the Bengals to the grocery store. Trouble will come of it)

Lovely storm tho, severe just south of us. Rats. THAT would have woke me up.

At 10:54 Blogger Arwenn said...

Hope that milk is found at work and soon!

My favorite living alone game is getting mad at "whoever put the orange juice carton back in the fridge with only four ounces of juice left".

At 11:17 Blogger gaypet said...

And one from Emily D:

I died for beauty but was scarce
Adjusted in the tomb,
When one who died for truth was lain
In an adjoining room.

He questioned softly why I failed?
"For beauty," I replied.
"And I for truth,--the two are one;
We brethren are," he said.

And so, as kinsmen met a night,
We talked between the rooms,
Until the moss had reached our lips,
And covered up our names.

Morning all. I hope milk has been acquired.

Lys, I did settle on BB. :)

At 11:35 Blogger Arwenn said...

Gayle - Didja know that most of Emily Dickinson's poems can be sung to the tune of "the yellow rose of texas"?

At 12:00 Blogger Jess said...

For my poetry contriubution I will pimp a poem by one of my former teachers, which I'm partial to because it was one of the first of her poems I ever heard her read aloud. She's awesome. One of the warmest and most generous people I ever met. Learned a lot from her.

Dabbler, I love those docs on the LOTR DVDs. Fun stuff. Even if Richard Taylor does have a very boring voice. (Well, he does! Ten thousand individually hand stitched aaagh shoot me now)

Hope tea and milk happened. I had coffee. I'm a little disturbed by just how non-perky I am till I have some-- and how bright and shiny and productive I am aterward. This is after about a month and a half after cutting waaaay back on the stuff. Shouldn't I have been back to normal after that long?

At 12:02 Blogger Jess said...

Arwenn: that is 100% FACT. A guy in my high school English class demonstrated. :D

At 12:12 Blogger Marjorie said...

I do hope Quiche has milk, and tea, now. And I *so* know that irritation that someone has used up all the milk, or beer, and not replaced it. If Tybalt had opposable thumbs I could blame him, at least for the milk, but I am pretty sure that he still can't open the fridge.

Moon time means I am cranky, clumsy & achey right now. Thank all the fods it is friday eveing, and if I want to hide under the duvet all weekend, emerging only for chocolate and to feed the cat, I can. (although I was planning to go and see 'Moon' tomorrow)

My head is full of cotton wool and I can't think of any poems to share, so will just sit back and enjoy the ones you're all posting, instead.

At 12:25 Blogger dabbler said...

Even living with others I find I am often the object of my own ire. Usually when they point it out to me, of course!

Thanks NA, it's all good despite my whining/whinging.

Fiends make me smile!

At 12:34 Blogger Na said...

dabbler, I don't think you're whining; i'd call it processing.

i am having the most up and down week: lots of stuff that's by turns hectic, inspiring, mind-numbing, interesting, intellectual, banal, embarrassing, relieving... i'm 'bout done and craving escape.

thought i had a poem to share, but realized that, opposite of vampi, i fall in and out of love with certain poems, and this is one of 'em, and i'm currently out with it.

slouching toward the weekend, waiting to be reborn...

At 13:39 Blogger Arwenn said...

Anyone else amused at the thought of the bengals going to the grocery store? Magic and Lear would be as high up as they could possibly be hissing and spitting, Mab would be trying to talk Lear down, Venus and Mim might be knocking things over and then running away from the loud noises….good times.

At 13:52 Blogger Jess said...

And none of them would bring money. They'd try to pay with dead moths. (Careful of volume if you click. Just got my ears blown off playing the cartoon.)

At 16:19 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Fiends,
iv'e got a cat question.
i may have told you about my ploydactyl cat, Digit seems to have arthritis. He cannot jump up or down like he used to and i bird net screamed the balcony so he could go outside...
But now hes having episodes where he howls and rolls on his back in agony and bites his right back foot.
i'm wondering if he has a pinched nerve. The vet says the only way to tell is if he gets an MRI. Not possible in my house because MRI=$$$$.
Have any of you seen this behaviour in cats?
Would glucosamine help? i've heard various things about it.
if you have anything to share, please do! I wanna keep my guy comfortable.

At 18:23 Blogger FabulousLorraine said...

New post is UP!

Bobina, Not sure I have any advice. What's the treatment if she does have a pinched nerve? If it isn't bad, you might start there, and skip the MRI..

Hugs and hope for her...

At 19:19 Blogger Dragonsally said...

Bobina - thinking along the lines Lorraine suggested, see of you can find a local animal chiropractor/physiotherapist. A lot cheaper than a MRI and they really work. Maybe even accupunture.

At 13:56 Blogger Uisge said...

Sorry to bump and old post, but wanted to share a poem, too. (written by a friend and about tea - so very appropriate)

He wakes in the morning
minutes before his wife.
Who wakes every morning
to the smell of hot tea.

my idea of love.

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