Salman Rushdie said, "a poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep."
This seems like an art worthy of celebration to us, which is why, in honor of National Poetry Month, we'll be featuring a different poet each week on our page. Some will be traditional veterans of their craft, while others will be burgeoning experimental writers. All will offer unique perspectives on the often overlooked medium.
Our second poet is David Morley, an ecologist and writer from the UK whose zoology background and Romany heritage inspire much of his work. He created a "slow art" poetry trail for which he wrote haikus on elm, easels and fabric, in order to, "explore how artists can develop a more sustainable approach to their creative practice." In addition to his poetry, he's written criticism for The Guardian and Poetry Review and a textbook, "The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing." He is the Director of the Warwick Writing Programme and Professor of Writing.
We'll be sharing a poem of his a day on on Twitter all this week.
Check out his previously unpublished work, "Field Guide to the Moths of Warwickshire and Worcestershire":
Orthosia gothica: The Hebrew Character
What, a watcher asks, distinguishes one moth from another?
The time-cut characteristic of the Hebrew Character
is a black cradle etched near the nub of the forewing.
This figure tells between this moth and other night-flyers,
the Powdered and the Common Quakers,
that rest with wings tilted tent-wise over their bodies.
Tent-like, this is the moth’s awning in the breeze.
Inside that dark you sense the saucepans of her eyes.
The devil’s detail. A closer glance at that mark will yield
a mantle, a gleaming tunnel through a wold or world.
The leading edges of her wings are pommelled
ash-brown as if soldered fastidiously then battened.
Turn a torch on blossoming brambles in Hay Wood
or Oversley Wood, you elicit these drab charismatics
idling through April between thorns and flowers.
Arden wove Warwickshire between these woods,
not one tress pinned with sonnets but with spider web,
their lungs invisibly inhaling downdrafts of moth wings.
The Hebrew Character once ignited from those brambles
to tremble after lamps, limping in scorched encirclements
her antennae addled and numbed from a night’s candles;
and in her coming to flame, secreting scent-tails, perfumes
against air, called out for her quivering courtiers,
her night-flight trailing pheromones, flaring lovers.
In faith and blindness, flowing like hours from dusk to dawn
the Powdered and Common Quakers will have flown,
then the Delicate, the Wainscot and the Uncertain,
the Great Brocade, Dusky Sallow and the Lunar,
the Clouded Drab, Neglected Rustic and the Shears.
Fire, a watcher warns, distinguishes no moth from another.