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.