Adam Zagajewski, “Moths”

Moths (from A Book of Luminous Things)
Adam Zagajewski (tr. Renata Gorczynski, Benjamin Ivry, C.K. Williams)

Moths watched us through
the window. Seated at the table,
we were skewered by their lambent gazes,
harder than their shattering wings.

You’ll always be outside,
past the pane. And we’ll be here within,
more and more in. Moths watched us
through the window, in August.


The moths are soft and therefore hard. Their glow is their gaze. That they appear at the window skewers the speaker and his group. Their unfulfilled desire, their yearning for the light, their freedom shatters.

Why would one choose to be an outsider? Why reject the comfort and security of home and family? The silent violence of “more and more in:” we manipulate and exploit without even realizing it. We think ourselves independent as we isolate ourselves.

One doesn’t really choose to be an outsider. One pursues a passion and tries to find what one desires. The attempt to join something to you alien to you, while natural, counts as a disturbance of sorts. It’s like you’re sending moths back to what was, as messengers, as you convey loss, uncertainty, love.

1 Comment

  1. Dear Admin
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