Poem: 41
Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Every death enormous.

As a moth to flame, I asked her, after an interval
What does it mean? Why do you glow,
And draw me into your azure gaze? Why, why this 
Present illusion? Aren’t such 
Temporal things merely a heart’s 

In purple radiance dazzling,
She replied:
Every death enormous
This knitting of 
Breath to breath,
And stitching of,
Heart to heart. 
Making flowers out of felt,
In this 48-hour crafting 

Is not the moth
A perfect poetry
Of passions
So tragic, fated,
mortal? To wing,
To rise, and flapping 
Beat the air, clapping up up up in
Clumsy sideways rhythms:
Bashful brother of a butterfly’s 

Don’t you know what you are,
My friend?

We are moths, not butterflies.
Seeking flame over flower, 
Annihilation over pollination.

Our secret desire is to give that which is most precious
In an act of glorious Seppuku; gesturing recognition 
That same recognition that moved Musashi
Who cried upon the death of noble rival Ganryu; As David did,
On hearing of King Saul’s passing in final battle, 
Tearing his clothes, falling to his knees, 
Screaming at the heavens:
Oh, how the mighty have fallen!

That same desire, which moved Rilke in madness 
To give voice to such mothy sentiment: 
When we win it’s with small things, 
and the triumph itself makes us small.

Such chivalry has long passed,
The race of men in rank sloth descending, 
Forgetting these acts of
courtly romance, of 
Fraternal tribute, spiritual surrender;
the cost, the cost
Of love.

So Aphrodite— wearing
Royal purple, of course, 
Or nothing — 
Convened the gods upon Olympus, whom
In grave High Council,

Anal Haq, Tat Sat 
I am That
That moth, that very moth,
That one and every other, 
All are me, declaring over 
And over and over again,
In how many acts of 
Repetitive worship; Subtle or
Not-so-subtle variations
On this theme:
How deeply I wish to give 
My Life, my Love
For you!

Back on earth, I stood upon
These netherlands, and
Through a bamboo reed,
This secret leaked
Which I trembled
To hear.

How how can I
Possibly let myself
Feel this much? 
Love, you know
No symmetry or 
Proportion! I am 
Not worthy; Leave me!
For I am a sinner.

Love, answers back
From the Flame: 
How how can you 
Not? Dare not to 
Love? Not to 
Feel? Let this firy craze
N’er end.
Every heartbeat a life
Every death,

Recording available: 
Listen to me read this aloud.