gershon hepner

Rookie - 10 Points (5 3 38 / leipzig)

Fiery Flings Of The Solitary Moth - Poem by gershon hepner

The lesson of the moth is that the flame
can kill us though there’s beauty in the heat,
but we ignore the dangers just the same
as moths, when eagerly we fly to meet
indifferent people who despise and burn
the wings we spread to reach them like the moth:
better to be solitary and turn
to wine and beer and drain the dregs and froth,
as it is better that we burn
in the beauty of another’s wings
seducing us to make us turn
aside, and have with them our fiery flings.


Dinitia Smith (“The Moth, From Humble Insect to Hallucinatory Art, ” NYT, August 14,2002) writes about Joseph Scheer who in Alfred University in New Hampshire studies moths, finding them even more beautiful when enlarged. He scans the moths he examines digitally and prints the images with a high-resolution Iris printer. Most visitors who see his prints reach out to touch the huge pictures.

Moths are the outsiders of the Lepidoptera (the insect order including butterflies and moths) , Mr. Scheer says. They are creatures of the night. 'The moth flies into the flame and kills itself, ' he said. In literature and mythology, moths symbolize the helplessness of desire. In 'The Lesson of the Moth, ' Don Marquis wrote:

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
and burned up with beauty
than to live a long time

The last four lines were written on 1/31/10.

8/14/02,1/31/10


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Poem Submitted: Sunday, January 31, 2010



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