Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Heart Moth

The Heart Moth

There was
a heart that hatched
out a moth that landed
on my mouth, to burn; burn and fly
and die.

Too long
I've waited for my lips to cool,
to live, and missed the moth
because it was
my heart.

~July 2016

posted for    real toads

Process Note: This is a cinquin, a short, usually unrhymed poem of twenty-two syllables in five lines arranged 2, 4, 6, 8, & 2 per line.  In the second stanza, I have reversed the order.

Images: Queen of the Night costume design, 1922, by Leon Batsk,   Fair use.
Moth, 1900,  by Albrecht Bierstadt,  Public domain.


  1. This makes me think of times when we watch someone go, and wonder why their leaving doesn't affect us as deeply as we thought it would. We notice their absence, but not for the reasons we might've thought.

    The imagery in your poem is as powerful as Crane's, and completely its own. Love it. ♥

  2. Poignant, with more than a dash of myth, and also of what might be called the price of reaching the evening of a life.

  3. Wow! Amazing poem already – and then the last line opens up endless vistas....

  4. Beautiful poem; you make Crane's line your own. There is a wonderful assonance --not sure if that is the right word - with moth and mouth and lips and live--in each stanza, as if some key word turned into something else. Also terrific short lines and enjambment. k.

  5. I love the shape of this poem, and the metaphor of the heart as a moth - fluttering, too close to a flame

  6. This is perfection! What a fabulous response to the prompt. You have created that sense of Crane's work, where an epic poem is confined into a minimum number of lines, with a theme that is both surreal and universal.
    Stunning, potent and memorable.

  7. Wonderful mind trip. Appreciate you sharing.

  8. "on my mouth, to burn; burn and fly
    and die."

    I adore the rhythm of that. It reads aloud beautifully.

  9. Love the simplicity and musicality in this - the heart as a moth is a memorable image. Thanks for sharing!

  10. The flight and blight of this moth are like kisses that come and go, and the mouth both candle and scorch. Lovely weave of metaphor, such dappled wings.

  11. Wow! As Kerry says, this is perfect! I love it.

  12. There is an interesting progression in this joy - where does one end and another begin. Did the moth have to burn to free the heart, and having burned did you lose both? An intricate little piece that tells a much bigger story.

  13. You know, I did not notice the cinquain feature of this before and the shape like a moth. Lovely added touch. k.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats