Friday, December 29, 2006

A Moth to the Flame

My mother possessed a book called archy and mehitabel, written by Don Marquis about a cockroach who jumped on the keys of a typewriter in order to write stories and poems. He can't reach the Caps button of course, so he only writes in lower case letters. He has a friendship with Mehitabel, his cat friend. You can see him typing in the cartoon to the left. The book was illustrated by George Herriman, who also illustrated a cartoon called Krazy Kat. I gave the book to my daughter after my mother passed away recently, but just looking through it brought back memories of looking at the pictures when I was a young child. I was reading a few of the poems from the book and came across this poem about a moth. I got to thinking about how this poem illustrates our own propensity to be drawn to the flame. It is a good illustration of the sin nature within us. This poem also is an ode to much of the bent of American society. Call it the anthem for People Magazine or something. I was struck by the ending... I wish there was something I wanted as badly as he wanted to fry himself. I know what I want. I want my desire to be towards God rather than be drawn like a moth to the flame of temptations, wrong desires, and wrong pursuits. Do I want it badly enough? Therein is the rub.


i was talking to a moth
the other evening
he was trying to break into
an electric light bulb
and fry himself on the wires

why do you fellows
pull this stunt i asked him
because it is the conventional
thing for moths or why
if that had been an uncovered
candle instead of an electric
light bulb you would
now be a small unsightly cinder
have you no sense

plenty of it he answered
but at times we get tired
of using it
we get bored with the routine
and crave beauty
and excitement
fire is beautiful
and we know that if we get
too close it will kill us
but what does that matter
it is better to be happy
for a moment
and be burned up with beauty
than to live a long time
and be bored all the while
so we wad all our life up
into one little roll
and then we shoot the roll
that is what life is for
it is better to be a part of beauty
for one instant and then cease to
exist than to exist forever
and never be a part of beauty
our attitude toward life
is come easy go easy
we are like human beings
used to be before they became
too civilized to enjoy themselves

and before i could argue him
out of his philosophy
he went and immolated himself
on a patent cigar lighter
i do not agree with him
myself i would rather have
half the happiness and twice
the longevity

but at the same time i wish
there was something i wanted
as badly as he wanted to fry himself

archy

5 Comments:

At 10:56 AM, Blogger Kim from Hiraeth said...

Wow. That's some thought provoking poetry, Cindy!

Thanks for posting that. I would probably never had had the opportunity to read it otherwise and I did like readng it.

 
At 10:08 AM, Blogger candyinsierras said...

Some of the poems are funny and interesting. I enjoyed reading them myself.

 
At 2:16 PM, Blogger Homemanager said...

Hi Candy,
That IS very interesting, Candy. As I was reading, I saw that you mentioned that your Mom passed away. I hadn't known, it has been a bit since I've been blog hopping.
Please accept my sincere sympathy.
God's Blessings to You,
Karen

 
At 4:27 PM, Blogger candyinsierras said...

Thank you so much Karen.

 
At 12:11 AM, Blogger jen elslager said...

Definitely thought-provoking. That book sounds so familiar. I may have seen it as a child. My father might own it. I'll have to ask...

I'm so sorry about your mother too.

 

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