Sunday, 17 November 2019

Two Poems About Elephant Hawk Moth Caterpillars

With more concrete news to come, I am very happy to reveal that in early 2020, I will have a collection of poetry published by Brambleby Books, Nottingham, which is currently undergoing the final editing stages.
The book begins with a poem about Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillars, originally part of a sequence. I have retained the two related poems fromthe sequence, and would like to share them here, with a photograph by Ian Parker. The first poem is a meditation on the appearance of the caterpillars, while the second relates to a time when such a caterpillar was brought into my workplace by a young boy.


THOUGHTS ON ELEPHANT HAWK MOTH CATERPILLARS

To me, your onyx bodies,
sloeberry-black
and striped in browny-grey,
your shuffled shapes of crumpled
and pre-pupal flesh,
disc eyes
glassy
and sad
suggest space-trawling creatures,
galactic gastropods,
lonely aliens
sailing through the wastes
of distant star systems.





JOURNEY OF AN ELEPHANT HAWK MOTH CATERPILLAR

Once, I saw one,
brought into the library I worked in,
like a chubby tube of plasticine,
folded into sluggish chunks,
rolling eyes gaping
at a galaxy of books.

We returned this bundle of  


muscle


ocelli


tentacles


and prolegs,


ecdysone,


thorax,


abdomen


and nerves


onto the grass outside,
where it wobbingly
wiggled, wriggling instinctively,
escaping into green familiarity.






Copyright Ian Parker

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