Sunday, August 19, 2012

Billy Collins' Moth

I dreamed Billy Collins
Whispering haiku into
His white dog's patient ears.
First one long, silky ear,
Then the other hound dog ear
Got the lines about
The moon moth sleeping on the
Gigantic temple bell.

In my dream, as Billy whispered
He whispered the moth and bell into the room.
When the moth flew away,
It made the one-tone bell tip,
And its iron voice
Clanged and clanged.

I thought, how heavy was that moth?
His flying tipped a one-tone iron bell
To wag its metal tongue!

How heavy is a baby
Lying beneath his mother's ribs?
How heavy is the bond
That runs between friend and friend?
How heavy is the raindrop
That breaks granite into sand?

May, 2012

Inspired by Billy Collins' poem "Japan" (1998), which was inspired in turn by Taniguchi Buson's Japanese haiku translated into English by X.J. Kennedy:

On the one-ton temple bell
A moon moth, folded into sleep
sits still.

Image of a luna moth courtesy of South Harrison NRI Wildlife Inventory which must be related to Rutgers University.


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