Gypsy Moth

Jon Silkin

A Gypsy Moth holds a castle of bruised rose
in its sights, the engine beating like a moth’s wings,
but the moths beat against or tumble over
the walls, across beams of light, on glass,
and in the windows – their sensors,
their furred heads, winged bodies with a burning sense
of the bulbs naked over the readers.
Lightly they wipe their webbed flesh
on our cheekbones, and we imagine
ourselves winged.

The Gypsy Moth’s self-enchanted drawl,
its music in two notes of self, regarding self,
throbs in the pilot. Satisfaction
secretes over face, mind
and brain, until he is aglow
to do it, to bomb. The readers rejoice
their arrowy targets in the castle tossing spires
through a Gypsy Moth’s night sounds.

I hear the Moth on its tarmac, I rejoice
and dream, but imagine death, my head
huge and burned as a moth’s. In a field
by the glade furring the gorge, a farmer
sprinkles Shell’s nonchalant toxin,
friendless friend, hearing the Esk splash.