Whether it’s true
that the moth mistakes the candle’s flame
for the moon or the bioluminescent
pheromones of another moth,
I can’t say.
I was the candle.
I was the flame
conceived in and by reason of
darkness, nibbling on a darkening wick.
When moth after moth after moth
swarmed me with their powdery wings,
I asked why.
I asked how.
I asked if
I could survive knowing
that not everything has a reason,
that not everything is capable
of or interested in reason.
my language of smoke.
Copyright © 2021 by Paul Tran. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 24, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.
The world is a beautiful place to be born into if you don’t mind happiness not always being so very much fun if you don’t mind a touch of hell now and then just when everything is fine because even in heaven they don’t sing all the time The world is a beautiful place to be born into if you don’t mind some people dying all the time or maybe only starving some of the time which isn’t half so bad if it isn’t you Oh the world is a beautiful place to be born into if you don’t much mind a few dead minds in the higher places or a bomb or two now and then in your upturned faces or such other improprieties as our Name Brand society is prey to with its men of distinction and its men of extinction and its priests and other patrolmen and its various segregations and congressional investigations and other constipations that our fool flesh is heir to Yes the world is the best place of all for a lot of such things as making the fun scene and making the love scene and making the sad scene and singing low songs of having inspirations and walking around looking at everything and smelling flowers and goosing statues and even thinking and kissing people and making babies and wearing pants and waving hats and dancing and going swimming in rivers on picnics in the middle of the summer and just generally ‘living it up’ Yes but then right in the middle of it comes the smiling mortician
From A Coney Island of the Mind, copyright ©1955 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.