A Hundred Gourds 3:1 December 2013
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page 7  

Claire Everett - UK


evening glow
a touch of shimmer
on my décolletage

I smile when I see the page you’ve bookmarked. You know how I love Japanese woodblock prints. And, after all, it was only yesterday you had me painting gate and fence post, bark and tree stump with your special concoction of beer and molasses. I don’t think it occurred to you that summer was way ahead of us with the sugaring; the air was thick with the scent of honeysuckle and she was just adding the finishing touches with a pot of dew and some meadowsweet. Nor did you notice that there were no other two-legged creatures around for miles (apart from the birds, and of those, all but the owls were folding their wings) . . . that the night was younger than we’ll ever be again. You were too busy setting up your newly-acquired moth-trap, saying what amazing specimens we’d see, courtesy of a mercury vapour bulb.

voyeur moon . . .
an Eyed Hawk-moth
and its blushing wings

At dawn, you were thrilled that we’d been graced with a Common Swift, several Cinnabar, a Garden Tiger -- “as pretty as any butterfly!” and an “unusually early” Common Oak.

“Come autumn, we might be lucky enough to spot a Feathered Thorn”, you enthused, as your beauties found their sun-shy wings.

You noticed my dress, merely to remark that it was impractical for mothing and was I aware of the loose thread on the hem? No, it wasn’t see-through, just sheer enough that when the light caught me there was no denying that there was a woman under there, somewhere.

And tonight there was talk of glow-worms. Colonies are under threat. Rosebay and nettle are being cleared for development. Churchyards are too tidy these days. There’s a survey to be done.

You rambled on. “Easy to see why they were often mistaken for fairies. Just imagine, when Shakespeare was dreaming up Peaseblossom and Cobweb, he might have been out walking with those bioluminescent ladies of the night . . .”

wishing I’d bought
the neon lingerie . . .
lights out

Sugaring is a way of attracting moths using natural ingredients.

Hunting for Insects , Japanese woodblock by Suzuki Harunobu (1725-1770)

The title is taken from The Glow Worm by the French entomologist, Jean-Henri Fabre (1823-1915)

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