Concert by the Sea

April 5, 2013

Open-winged and silent, the great grey witch moths
drift down through the clouds into the waiting sea.
We call them ‘water witches’—moths that beguile the trees
with a weave of waves, moths the seagulls think of as rain drops—

These witches have not come from the sea, however;
the water fills their gill-like lungs and drowns them—
they’re like the tiny squid that wash ashore
each spring; they come to mate and die.

All our hopes follow the waves as the great grey witches
follow the tides north out of the concrete city,
a concert by the sea with music too dim for our eyes
to see, too much like silence for our ears to hear.

Is it you who would follow me into this ocean?
Is it you who would imagine the air beneath the sea?

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4 Responses to “Concert by the Sea”

  1. extrasimile Says:

    Anna, there actually is a moth that goes by the name ‘the great grey witch’. Its scientific name is Thysania agrippina. It’s considered to be one of the largest moths on the planet. I’m no moth expert, but I did come across this wonderful creature somewhere in my reading. All the activity of these moths, though, as described by me, was made up by me.
    Do they even exist at all? Isn’t that a great question. Assuming we mean, do they have existence outside the mind/ minds of the narrator, I’d have to say that perhaps not—or that they could simply be the rain itself—or squid? (I hadn’t thought of that.)
    As for the italicized questions at the end…I think I will pass on any further interpretation.
    By the way, ‘Concert by the Sea’ is the name of an album by Errol Garner. I plain stole the title; the music has nothing to do with the poem…except…it might be nice to read the poem while listening to the music.

  2. Anna Mark Says:

    A silent concert by the sea of beguiling moths:

    music too dim for our eyes
    to see, too much like silence for our ears to hear.

    Are they even there at all? I wonder. They come through clouds to confuse the gulls and though they don’t come from the sea they seem of the sea (squids) and they follow the tides out of the concrete city. The concrete city enters like a heavy slab of rock.

    I enjoy your questions in italics and I question them.
    What is this ocean and the air beneath the sea? and why would the speaker want company as he/she goes there? Of course the moths must imagine the air as they need it to fly…

  3. extrasimile Says:

    Thanks, Beeseeker, I’m going to have to investigate the ”concrete city’ image a little further. It is a rather intriguing idea. I actually use italic text often as a way of introducing a different voice. Glad you liked it.

  4. beeseeker Says:

    follow the tides … concrete city”
    some marvellous feeling in this poem and the italicised endng is haunting.


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