The first moth of the year appeared last night
Outside the bathroom window. Pebbled glass
Diffused its shape like raindrops. Its pale wings
I saw from underneath; perhaps, on top,
They were not pale at all. I've never learned
The subtle traits that separate the species,
But still, I am a scholar in my way.
I stop and study every moth I see
And take its stock: gold filaments for legs,
Coat rich beneath my hand lens; model-still
On porcelain or plaster. Are they lost,
Or have they found their only need: to be?
All summer I will watch and guard them, scrambling
To shrink a flame or fish them out of basins.
Futile, perhaps -- they only live a day --
But let it be a day complete, cut short
Neither by folly nor indifference. I
Can do no more than this. They need do less.