Pressed in the pages of this book
the moth that must have rested here
has turned into this powder blur,
the one dimension of itself.
Someone reading one Spring night
shut a sudden paper tomb
and trapped this echo of a flight.
A feint of light drew it there:
a dull reflection off the page
that made it seem a moon-lit flower
has made a moth an allegory.
I opened it by accident,
or some dust pressure did the same,
for a purpose that has melted,
in a bookshop long forgotten,
in a town I could not name -
and found this shadow on the text.
These wings outspread on the border
are printed off as fastened flight
and what was movement in the dark
is transferred to a trick of light:
the trace unjustifies the page
and lies like some erratic proof
or strange bird caught in miniature
that what is frozen still remains,
that all the ruled lines stay the same.
What is it that is captured here,
night crawler, myth mark, moth of thought,
now fixed and drifting out of date?
For changing once it stays unchanged.
Or does it lift? Or has it stirred?
for something taps at the darkened pane
(summons of a finished Spring)
and a new moth-pale visitant burrs
against my own reflected face.
The book is balanced on my hand
as a moth will settle on a page:
to touch on things that move to grey,
all the ghosts of the self
closed in books we read somewhere.