David Lewis Paget (22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)
She started wearing the corpse paint when
She’d just turned seventeen,
Renamed herself Pandora, though
Her real name was Jean,
We thought it was just a cult thing when
She dyed her hair pitch black,
Painted her lips and fingertips,
She looked like a shark attack.
With piercings in her eyebrows, tongue
And thumb rings on each hand,
An ankle chain that proclaimed her game,
‘I’m anyone’s, on demand! ’
She’d go to the Metal concerts or
She’d sit and sulk in her room,
And file her eye-teeth down to a point,
And scare herself in the gloom.
She kept a tin trunk under her bed
That she’d picked up second-hand,
But wouldn’t let on just what it held,
She said it was contraband,
We thought that she might grow out of it,
Get sick of being a Goth,
But that was before she came on it,
A huge, Death’s Head Hawkmoth.
She’d always collected butterflies
A Lepidoptera freak,
They hung in frames with her Gothic games
And she pinned them every week.
She’d bring them fluttering in a jar
And she’d spread their tiny wings,
Lay them down on a plaster board
And stick them there, with pins.
She brought the Hawkmoth home one day
And she let it out in her room,
She said she wouldn’t be pinning it,
It danced to an evil tune.
‘It foretells war, and famine, death! ’
She said as she watched it fly,
She seemed entranced as she watched it dance
For her mouth was open wide.
I didn’t see, but I heard her choke
And I found her on the floor,
Trying to retch the hawkmoth up
As she choked and spat, and swore,
‘It flew right into my open mouth
And it’s gone right down my throat!
I feel it fluttering way down there,
Will it kill me, if I choke? ’
‘It’s probably dead by now, ’ I said,
‘It couldn’t survive your bile,
It’s just like eating a turkey roast
You’ll digest it, in a while.’
‘I don’t feel well, ’ said the Goth from hell,
But she took a sip of Coke,
Then hid away for the rest of the day
Wrapped up in her Gothic cloak.
She’d never been very talkative
But she now clammed up for good,
She’d sit in the gloom of her darkened room,
We thought it was just a mood.
But then I opened her bedroom door
To check on our evil Goth,
And out there flew, more than a few
Of the Death’s Head strain, Hawkmoth.
Pandora lay way back on the bed
And her mouth was open wide,
All I could hear was fluttering, fluttering
Coming from way inside,
And moths were flying out of her mouth
In a steady stream to the room,
And all the walls and ceiling, covering,
Moths in the afternoon.
A week had passed from the funeral,
The coffin was sealed with glue,
For moths kept fluttering out of her mouth
With nothing that we could do.
I finally opened her old tin chest
And found it was full of moths,
Of every species, fluttering, fluttering
Out of Pandora’s Box.
7 November 2013
Comments about this poem (Moth! by David Lewis Paget )
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