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3 The Moth

mirror3THERE IS NOTHING to be gained, not even justice, by putting on trial the moth that
has eaten the tapestry. It warrants the same amnesty as a rust moth.’

Our own lives may seem crepuscular in the wisdom of a warm summer
night. Yet the dust on Castaneda’s moth, loose on its powdery wing, is no
dull shower of bookish sediment but quick bright knowledge shaken from
a vita breva – the Latin taking flight from common parlance, beating itself
ragged against a scholar’s lamp, too desperate to give up the ghost.

1st – The Moth of Reason
As Darwinists are drawn to a Bunsen flame, creationists are born again in
Jerusalem. Forget black morphs on sooty chimneys: white ones on bark
stripped of lichen are blatant to birds. The research was flawed. Many
were placed on trunks in daylight; some were dead, and glued there.

2nd – The Moth Migration
Capitol Hill, with its floodlit flagpole and rotunda, is a lightning rod
for seasonal panic. Once a year Parliament is infested: a lift jams, fire
alarms are triggered. In cafés many drown in saucers of tea. At the opera
house pale agitated high notes enliven the soprano in her spotlight.

3rd – The Names of the Moth
The anthology par excellence, beyond criticism, is a selection of our
macro moth names, with plates or the memory of plates. Swallow
prominent, Angle shades, The drinker, Feathered thorn, Oak lutestring,
Powdered quaker, Dingy shears – Miltonic in the hedgerows of Paradise.

4th – The Clothes Moth
Nordic sweater patterns – stylised derricks, spouting whales – replace
tartans this far north of the clan line. Moths are like postcards from
a lowland aunt, unread till she’s passed away. A fashionista better half
calculates that if there’s wool around, maybe they won’t eat silk.

5th – The Death’s-head Hawkmoth
Many of the sightings in the city that year were prompted by shrieks,
which some believed to be the death cries the braveheart king had
stoppered in his throat at the Tower. Often they sneaked past the guards in
hives, mimicking the scent of bees while gluttonising nectar and honey.

6th – The Moth in Heat
A squadron trapped in the revolving doors of the west campus, catching an
irresistible puff of molecules, the pheromone plume, hurriedly they fling
themselves a country mile to a female in the hanging position, wings ajar
to expose her abdomen’s hind end, urgent glistening gland extruded.

All six – The Moth Campaign
From a mini-cosmos of harm falls a rain of toxic caterpillar hairs, onto dog
walkers, nature lovers. A helicopter scutters low over the oak wood but not
until after the school run. In the event, collateral damage is limited
to nature: White admiral, Silver-washed fritillary, Scarlet tiger moth.

Introduction to Six-Way Mirror | The Index of Hexagrams and Cantos




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