The Lesson of the Moth

By Don Marquis, in “archy and mehitabel,” 1927

i was talking to a moth
the other evening
he was trying to break into
an electric light bulb
and fry himself on the wires

why do you fellows
pull this stunt i asked him
because it is the conventional
thing for moths or why
if that had been an uncovered
candle instead of an electric
light bulb you would
now be a small unsightly cinder
have you no sense

plenty of it he answered
but at times we get tired
of using it
we get bored with the routine
and crave beauty
and excitement
fire is beautiful
and we know that if we get
too close it will kill us
but what does that matter
it is better to be happy
for a moment
and be burned up with beauty
than to live a long time
and be bored all the while
so we wad all our life up
into one little roll
and then we shoot the roll
that is what life is for
it is better to be a part of beauty
for one instant and then cease to
exist than to exist forever
and never be a part of beauty
our attitude toward life
is come easy go easy
we are like human beings
used to be before they became
too civilized to enjoy themselves

and before i could argue him
out of his philosophy
he went and immolated himself
on a patent cigar lighter
i do not agree with him
myself i would rather have
half the happiness and twice
the longevity

but at the same time i wish
there was something i wanted
as badly as he wanted to fry himself

archy

Add yours Comments – 4

  • Laura

    on December 7, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    this is a little something I did.. I hope no one is bothered by it being in spanish.

    poetry

    mi amor por ti
    es como el pasar del dia
    y el correr del agua
    porque no importa
    donde este la luna
    o porque lado el sol salga
    te amare siempre
    como la lluvia
    que toca las plantas
    como la brisa
    que toca tu cara
    estare siempre a tu lado
    para ser tu apoyo
    para ser tu luz
    para ser tu voz
    para ser tu compañia
    porque eres el sol
    de mis dias
    y la alegria
    de mis fantasias
    eres mi todo
    y por eso es que odio

    mi amor por ti.

  • zpaulo

    on December 8, 2013 at 1:44 am

    Fez-nos bem, muito bem, esta demora:
    Enrijou a coragem fatigada…
    Eis os nossos bordões da caminhada,
    Vai já rompendo o sol: vamos embora.

    Este vinho, mais virgem do que a aurora,
    Tão virgem não o temos na jornada…
    Enchamos as cabaças: pela estrada,
    Daqui inda este néctar avigora!…

    Cada um por seu lado!… Eu vou sozinho,
    Eu quero arrostar só todo o caminho,
    Eu posso resistir à grande calma!…

    Deixai-me chorar mais e beber mais,
    perseguir doida mente os meus ideais,
    E ter fé e sonhar — encher a alma.

    Camilo Pessanha

    Coimbra

    1867 – 1926
    Portugal

  • zpaulo

    on December 8, 2013 at 2:05 am

    Fernando Pessoa

    Sou um evadido.

    Logo que nasci

    Fecharam-me em mim,

    Ah, mas eu fugi.

    Se a gente se cansa

    Do mesmo lugar,

    Do mesmo ser

    Por que não se cansar?

    Minha alma procura-me

    Mas eu ando a monte,

    Oxalá que ela

    Nunca me encontre.

    Ser um é cadeia,

    Ser eu é não ser.

    Viverei fugindo

    Mas vivo a valer.

  • Beth

    on December 9, 2013 at 4:17 am

    Very nice poem 🙂