The Cabbage White and the Between

 

IMG_3876Between earth and sun

O intermediary

moth I rest in you

The erratic zig-zag of the cabbage white moth is hard to follow. Like one’s mind, perhaps, in its daily wanderings. In its worm stage, this particular moth is a pest; as its name suggests, it feasts on cabbage, and also broccoli and Brussels sprouts. But in its winged state, it has left the bad behind, or so the story goes. So as it rests in the heat of a summer afternoon, it seems to connect earth and sun as it is still for a minute if that. The between or “metaxy” is a state of consciousness recognized by Plato and poets everywhere (strange bedfellows, but that’s another story). With clear consciousness/conscience, we may enjoy our short lifespans,  flitting around in the luminous between, conscious of dimensions and directions beyond our kin. So I address the common moth as a fellow traveler in the between. The echo of Augustine’s question about existential rest — until I rest in Thee– should produce that verbal shock that provides the judgment within the judgment, as Hill would say, and also the slight shudder of the haiku twist with its comic or high/low touch. Interesting to me how much cultural work the haiku form is capable of.

Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Portland OR and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. His blogs include poemswithoutborders.com He can be reached at tom.develyn@comcast.net. D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at http://tdevelyn.com and other sites.

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