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Saturday, 18 July 2009

Beautiful Thing


File:LeopardMothBlueSpots edit2.jpg

Beautiful thing in the evening I remember you
I run my hands through your fur
With its thick passages of blue gentian
And deep black emerging from snow

And forget the pain
That remains of the shattered body

It does not surprise me men in the night are searching for you
Twenty thousand nights I've searched for you
I see their blue eyes turn to fire flies in the dirty oaks
As the night vehicles go by
The grinding of a clutch
Laboring uphill in the terror corridor

There's a strong electric light on a pole

And out of the night comes you
O beautiful thing
Someone is searching for you in the night
On all fours
He crawls toward you

This is the news
This is the memory of your crepuscular mothfur touch

Giant leopard moth (Hypercombe scribonia): photo by Kevin Collins, 2008


TC said...

The full splendour of Beautiful Thing is but a mouse-kiss away.

Anonymous said...

This is an insect of noble blood. Look at its garments!

Andrew W. said...

A beautiful reversal of perspective on Gregor Samsa, perhaps?

TC said...


Yes, surely Mother Nature is la grande couturière.


Interesting thought. The man on all fours has awakened into a world of divinely gorgeous arthropods.

Then again, Gregor awakens not as a cockroach but as a great blue-spotted leopard moth: his family reacts not with disgust but delight!

We do note from the story that it may not be that great a leap of the imagination to suppose the Kafka version of his awakening is but one version of Gregor's dream. FK appears to leave this possibility open. In this alternate version Gregor awakens, perhaps, as still a man, and the first thing he sees?

"What has happened to me? he thought... Above the table on which a collection of cloth samples was unpacked and spread out... hung the picture which he had recently cut out of an illustrated magazine and put into a pretty gilt frame. It showed a lady, with a fur cap on and a fur stole, sitting upright and holding out to the spectators a huge fur muff into which the whole of her forearm had vanished!"

The giant blue spotted leopard moth might then be conceived as Gregor's dream girl.

TC said...

(BTW, not to spoil the mystery but to properly locate it, the giant leopard moth in the photo was found by Kevin Collins under a streetlight in Newport News, Virginia at one o'clock in the morning. I've always wondered if the creatures of the night might not be the most beautiful...)