-Dinting Fields by Jay Caldwell, originally published in Places Of Poetry. Published by kind permission
I remember a time when the desert wasn’t metaphor,
when I was inserted there, for dry-throated reasons,
for years. A tree outside my cell leaved itself after rain
with lime parakeets and open-handed moths cloaking
the trunk with heavy wings of serge.
A decent desert, worth its salt. A sister-lined system.
The desert isn’t the desert unless it is too big for you.
This spiritual wilding lacks waymarkers and bounds.
And we were desert mothers and accomplices,
engendering puddle-babies and preening date palms;
aspersing them with quarter-buckets of day-old
well water, when it could be spared:
until they poked out flaring devils’ tongues—
which seemed to give a focus.
Days Round like the Moon
Mapped to the urban (but the soul can live on a little green,
can thrive on a tree; witness Coleridge’s patch of sky),
they nonetheless call themselves women of the blue flowers,
who flow back to the source, small and pink-breasted, multifoliate,
stamens alight. They will never be obsolete, women of the blue faces,
women of the blue fleeces, their tongues plumped up, giving rue,
dealing it like it was a winning hand at rummy, a many-wristed mother
wiping little mouths with a muslin napkin, while slow white moths
gather at the door. During Compline on the radio, a husband makes a pass
at the agency cook, who takes it all in her athletic stride. At day’s end,
the rhythm of the hours pauses on its cusp and the women reclothe
themselves in midnight blue, clutching the stars, women of the blue faeces,
dusting the moon and sinking down naked to dawn and Lauds.
moths on the screen door
light is a wicked thing
blinding the hopeful
drawing in fragile creatures
looking for something real
of tent caterpillars
sags with dew . . .
our differing opinions
on the nature of beauty
tanka published in Atlas Poetica Special Feature, January 2018
bind my body
with spanworm silk
lay me down
in a shaded garden
until I turn to earth
tanka published in Atlas Poetica Special Feature, August 2019
-Charley Ulyatt (Published in Hummingbird)
lamp lamp lamp lamp lamp
lamp lamp lamp lamp lamp lamp lamp
lamp lamp lamp lamp lamp
A moth arrives like a small hand passing over my face
and when I open my eyes a heartbeat thuds against my
bedside shade. Leave your window ajar and your lamp lit –
why, that’s an invitation, says he. White ermine, little prince.
It was all my fault. No sooner had he nested than I requested
him gone. My insides spun him a silk cocoon, simple to sweep.
He had no face. A moth is a butterfly as a weed is a flower
alighting in the wrong place. Garden tiger, he grew.
A moth arrives like tinnitus, but listen and he stills his wings.
He only begins again on his own terms. Tell me my name?
he asks and won’t stop, like I am a light-trap and he is stunning
himself. Blood-vein, a lost boy looking for his shadow.
It was a hospital bed in strip-light. How uselessly we witness
the faceless. Our windscreens are clean of winged-reminders
of what is lost. In each of my hands, a small hand of the living.
Notice these night-thoughts and let them go. V-moths, thinning.
-Anna Kisby (originally published in Ink, Sweat and Tears)
The Butterfly will be admired,
While moths are often less desired.
The large moth that flew in
It poked me in the cheek, trying to fly into my mouth, seeking refuge as if it were a word I uttered long time ago and now awakened from the dead.
Moth, from Old English moththe, Middle Dutch motte, Old Norse motti—were you a sound from sleep, a muffled cry? Were you spoken in error in the wrong ear, unintelligible, soft? Were you lost, looking for meaning down my throat?
Were you the comet moth, the black witch, the luna or the Gypsy, the emperor’s gum, good god, the dark dagger, dusky brocade, the death’s hand, the flame, the ghost, the shark, the snout, or the true lover’s knot? Were you November, or winter?
I’ll never know. I picked you up and threw you out into the night.
This crypt still place
of twisted sheets,
a midnight room
black wings in flight.
I wake and struggle
to free my tangle
and how I lie.
The room lightens
a landscape of shape
A large patterned
moth a terror to me.
A single flame,
a wooden box.
At last I sleep.
In this morning light
I opened the box,
it was empty.
-© Dai Fry 26th June 2020
-Dr. M.W. Bewick
The moth and the moon
The moth in my hand stopped
chained by the dust on my fingers.
Its fluttering receding with the moon
that it will never chase again.
The dust is mine
but the prized moth
that I thought was within my grasp
is now the moth and moon of a tragedy.
-Jim (the poet) Young
the mothth as collage.
a quiet ththing.
for the flame,
and her fingertips
burst into moths…
This piece was previously published here in Quatrain.fish: https://quatrain.fish/post/148500316772/karlo-sevilla on August 9, 2016.
Queen Carola’s Parotia on the Pergola
There was a gypsy moth massacre
Searching under decaying wood to get to the heart of contentment
Queen Carola’s Parotia on the Pergola
Reminiscent of a young European Paola
I heard news reports that it would be too windy for the vessels to dock
Ignoring the coarse-haired drummer
Into the virtual portal, longing to feel the sun again
Getting carried by Sunday schemes in your Chevrolet Blue Blazer
In the middle of doubting myself before speaking out
Overjoyed when I saw you outside the drugstore
I’m glad you’re grounded because I don’t want you to leave
Just know I’m wide for you
Vancouver, British Columbia
Queen Carola’s Parotia on the Pergola poem published online at Grey Thoughts on May 25, 2019.
You watch inky glass warp
+ shimmer — speckled
with dust. A noctuid
on the windowpane. Silver
y quivering between lilac
stars, agitated as water.
One of you enshrouds
There once was a tailor of cloth
Who fought with a wily old moth
He gave it his all
And it bounced off a wall
And landed fair square in his broth
Poetry on Phentermine
Often, I truly believe I am not asking
too much because the words weigh
less than all the buds on my tongue
but I later find out they
Weigh more than all the stars
in the sky to the one I
am asking whomever that
Right now. I feel very afraid.
Of what I do not know.
the other night I saw a moth
that, as it turns out, wasn’t
It fluttered, beating
against the wall opposite of
my bed then disappeared, taking
its shadow with it…
Maybe it was just that—a shadow
of a memory of a moth.
My brain is palpitating. And so too
Marie died and “took” Cindy with her.
Deborah died. Connie is
Slipping away. I don’t much
like that other lady.
When you feel too alive does
That make you a running, screaming, breathing
And when in fires form you become
The first alien moth on Earth
Drawing companions of a feather
To you to beat a horde of tiny wings
Against a wall. Leaving smoky
Impressions behind that say
“We were here.”
-M T Simon
Island Sonnets 1
The Slender Scotch Burnet Moth clings on
To this yellow bloom, this basalt cliff:
The fragile edge of a fragmentary life
Confined to islands. Under the melting sun
Summer’s haze shimmers over the sea.
There’s a threat of cloud in the west. The wind spills
A scent of gorse flowers over the folded hills.
This warm day’s a welcome rarity.
There’s so much peace in my heart it’s almost pain.
I’m bracing myself to withstand the next surprise,
Which isn’t coming. Ever. Only summer lies
In the days ahead. I’m facing the curious, strange,
Singular thought that it may all be over and done.
I cling to that fragile edge and bask in the sun.
dying moth” – haiga, Failed Haiku Journal of Senryu Vol.3, Issue 33, Sept/19
my muse speaks
of distant stars
Stardust Haiku, issue 35, November 2019
exotic moth display
a dream fragment
Acorn #44, spring 2020
a silver moth
among the strawberry roots
Otata 47, November 2019
a white moth
lingers at the window
Asahi Haikuist Network, 29 June 2018
silently a chrysalis
Asahi Haikuist Network, 29 June 2018
Ignorant moths dancing around the flames,
Unaware they’re participating in suicidal games.
Blissful in their quest, heading for the light,
Oblivious of the consequence of their self-destructive plight.
Expecting their fluttering to result in a gain,
Not the inevitable feel of life consuming pain.
Unknowing that their bodies are set to bubble and froth,
They joyously dance around the light,
each in turn becoming . . .
another suicidal moth.
The moth child
her shell of light
of her sadness.
in the moonlight.
And when she is
into a thousand
pale autumn moon
who is knocking
at your door?
-Whitehead L, 2018, “The moth child’, in Scryptic: Magazine of Alternative Art and Literature 2.4, Eds S C Gagnon, L A Minor, p70
Missing the Transformation
Moth, we owe you
Our deepest apology.
Not for letting little hands
Capture you in caterpillar
Youth, tiny feet tickling
Wrists and forearm skin;
Not for placing you
In a plastic box,
Snapping shut the lid,
Watching you build a rough cocoon;
Nor for placing you atop
A catch-all table in the kitchen
To which we gravitated,
Observing you at perigee.
Instead, we apologize for
Forgetting you at Christmas.
You emerged and spread wings
In a vacant world,
Devoid of blooms, without a mate.
You are significant for the miracle
We failed to see. Rest now in our garden,
Transform once more for our benefit.
Forgive us for ignoring
Your advent in our home.
she is suspended
between here and gone
catching the light
of this moth-winged life
A Hundred Gourds 4.1, Dec/14
Power of The Moth
Yet un described
member of the Order of Lepidoptera
of the Paraphyletic group, one
of the 160,000 alive on this planet.
Think not of me as a butterfly
though I am a painted lady, breeding
in Royal State, beware I am deadly
my habitat disturbed, not comforting,
I hide and rest by day, not for fear of the
butterfly, I believe in peaceful coexistence,
having long witches’ nose, but not casting spells,
keratin I love, in silk cashmere wool angora fur,
Yes I often hit the wall, I am confused by light
but when I fly by it, I frighten the flame, I love
to play the game, I bite , chew from side to side
hiding in basements cool fabric folds , inside.
Nature created me to warn mankind of the
temporal world, whatever lies unused, I eat
and destroy, so world ends and I too die
or else so delicate , how long can I fly?
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth”,
where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves
break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves
treasures in heaven , away from moths and all decay.
-anjum wasim dar
Copyright CER 2020
She stares into the droplet of water
and pretends to be a bear.
Her body is covered in brown fur
and she has a bump, right where
her shoulders should be, like a
great grizzly that wanders through
forests of geysers at Yellowstone
or the snowfalls of Canada.
She’ll be dead before she sees the
world beyond the garden of
42 Arnold Avenue, where she was
born two months ago underneath
the lilac tree and filled her belly
on honeysuckle syrup. She sizes
herself up in the droplet – one of
the many mirrors of the rain.
When winter comes, she’ll dry up
with the leaves, never having
pawed her way through Alaska
and without feeling the warmth
of a cub’s scruff against her lips.
She drinks the droplet, watching
her reflection vanish for the sake
of a thirst still unsatisfied.
Bios and links
is a Devon-based poet, archivist and author of the pamphlet All the Naked Daughters (Against the Grain Press, 2017). She won the Binsted Arts prize 2019, BBC Proms Poetry competition 2016, and was commended in Faber’s New Poets Scheme. In 2019 she collaborated on the project Creative Histories of Witchcraft and is subsequently working on a collection exploring historical magical practitioners.
Note: White ermines, Garden tigers, Blood-veins and V-moths are British moths on the verge of extinction.
from Quezon City, Philippines, is the author of the full-length poetry collection, “Metro Manila Mammal” (Some Publishing, 2018), and the chapbook, “You” (Origami Poems Project, 2017). Recognized among The Best of Kitaab 2018 and twice nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology, his poems appear in the journals Philippines Graphic, Small Orange, Black Bough Poetry, Shot Glass Journal, detritus, Radius, Matter, The Daily Drunk, the anthology, “NOSTALGIYA, Antolohiya Ng Mga Tula” of Samahang Lazaro Francisco, and others.
Samantha’s Pinwheels poem was published in Reality Break Press’ Volume I Poetry Issue. Other poems by Samantha have been published by Polar Expressions Publishing, Grey Thoughts, Fevers of the Mind Poetry Digest, Nymphs, Malarkey Books and Poetry Festival. In 2019, Samantha self-published a collection of poetry called Kazoo.
has an interest in poetry which can be read ecologically. She often researches place and landscape through site-specific writing. She recently reviewed Maria Sledmere’s nature sounds without nature sounds for amberflora, co-edited the zine VOICES in association with Nottingham Poetry Exchange, and her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Crêpe & Penn, Kissing Dynamite, lower ground 18 and (w)hole. She tweets @bethjmitch
is a lost kiwi, now living on a Scottish island. She has been making up stories and poems for as long as she can remember. Her first volume of poetry, The Knitted Curiosity Cabinet, won the Brit Writers Award for poetry in 2012. She loves her job, running a small public library, and has published four novels and a book of short stories. Twitter handle: @alayanabeth
writes haiku and poetry. Her haiku have been published widely in international journals and anthologies such as Acorn, Autumn Moon Haiku, bones, Frogpond, hedgerow, Modern Haiku, Otata, Presence, Prune Juice, The Heron’s Nest, and The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2018 and 2019. Her longer poetry has been published this year or is forthcoming in Broken Spine Artist Collective, Burning House Press, Clover and White, Kissing Dynamite Poetry, Parenthesis Journal, Pink Plastic House, Pussy Magic, 3 Moon Magazine, Re-side, and Twist in Time Magazine. You can find her on Twitter @blueirispoetry.
-M T Simon
reads and writes poetry of all forms but is especially fond of haiku/senryu, tanka and haibun. Her poetry has been published in several magazines both online and in hard copy. Most notably, she won first prize in the Dreamers Creative Writing Haiku Contest and was published in the Jul-Oct 2019 issue if that magazine. She is also an essay finalist and enjoys writing flash fiction, short stories and novels. Her first novel, Heart of Malice, came out in 2015 and another, Six Strings is soon to be released both are under the pen name: C Billie Brunson.
served as a Navy pilot before a career in banking. His poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in The Lake, Poydras Review, The Timberline Review, Remembered Arts Journal, Black Bough Poetry, and periodicities: a journal of poetry and poetics. Devon lives in the North Carolina piedmont.
is an internationally published short-form poet, haiga artist, and photographer whose creative passions connect her more closely to the world and to herself. She enjoys exploring the wilds with her husband in their lime green 1978 VW campervan. Debbie maintains a publications and awards archive at debbiemstrange.blogspot.com.
is a writer, artist, and actor based in North Wales, represented by DHH Literary Agency. Her career began when she won the 2016 Exeter Novel Prize. Since then she has gone on to publish poems with Agenda Magazine, Black Bough Poetry, Vociferous Press, and Creative Bangor. Last year, her short story ‘Citroen Sid’ was published by Retreat West to raise money for Indigo Volunteers, and her first play, For the Sake of the Jury was performed to packed audiences at the Victorian Christmas Festival in Beaumaris. She is currently the co-editor of Cape Magazine and co-host of the Altered Egos podcast. In addition to her writing, Briony enjoys directing and performing in plays. Most recently, she starred in Birdsong as Lieutenant Stephen Wraysford in a production for Bangor.
was born in Sussex, but now translates financial reports for a living in Frankfurt, Germany, where he lives with his fiancée and their dog. Inspired by his grandfather, also a poet, he began writing poems to share with his family in 2018. When his output ballooned under the coronavirus lockdown, he began sharing ‘lockdown poetry’ on Twitter (@marktgrainger).
is the author of published two novels and two collections of flash fiction. She also writes poetry and attends the Rye Harbour poetry workshop (or used to before Covid). She lives on the East Sussex/Kent border.
lives in Sheffield and teaches at Hallam University. His last published poetry collection was Skin (Longbarrow Press, 2015).
lives in the UK Midlands and her first full poetry collection from which these two poems are taken is called Monica’s Overcoat of Flesh and is published by @NineArchesPress
A poet of two halves – Charlie Ulyatt started writing poetry in his early twenties with earlier short poems printed in publications including Haiku Quarterly, Purple Patch, Peace and Freedom, Iota and Sepia amongst others. He also self published a small booklet of predominantly small vignettes called ‘Scorched Wings’, before ‘semi retiring’ from poetry for a while to focus on improvised music.
The second half ‘kicked off’ a little over a year ago with a more minimalistic approach to poetry, allowing space for imagination and reflection. He has recently self published a small pamphlet entitled ‘Absent Stirring’ and a small 8 poem ‘beak book’, ‘Slow Day Ahead’ and has also had poems published in HQ Poetry Magazine and Hummingbird (US) along with poems included in a garden poetry project.
has been furniture salesman, accountant, TEFL teacher and university lecturer. He got his three degrees from the University of Sussex and has since taught at the universities of Sussex, Essex and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where he was a Lady Davis Scholar. His doctoral thesis was published as: The Poetry of Keats: Language and Experience (Harvester and Barnes & Noble). He has also published A KWIC Concordance to the Harvard Edition of Keats’ Letters, a novel, Nietzsche’s Footfalls (Self-published) and five volumes of poetry, patricides, Risk of Skin and Self-Portraits and Broken Voices (all from Waterloo Press), bedbound (from Perdika Press), Finis-terre (from Agenda) and Three Artists (from Lapwing Publications). He has translated from Gallego, French and German. He has also been published in other volumes and in learned journals and many reputable poetry magazines. He divides his time between Brighton on the South coast of England and a village on the Rias of Galicia.
There is a substantial article on his work which appeared in Research in Phenomenology and which can be read at:
Further information can be found at