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About this Poem 

"'Corpse Flower, Luna Moth' is, I suppose, about seeing the hidden in the manifest, which is probably something quite different than William Carlos Williams’s old saw 'no ideas but in things.' Instead, the poem wants to create a living encounter in language with the distinct things it represents, which are two sides of one reality, like death and life. That living encounter, if it happens, happens through the word—the word that is language and the word that eludes utterance, but calls for utterance—being, singing—nonetheless."
—Daniel Tobin

Corpse Flower, Luna Moth

Daniel Tobin

     The deep wine
of it risen tall above
           the buried
	    corm,

     its ornamental
spathe furrowed thought-
           fully, to human
	     warmth.

     O un-branched
 inflouresence, amorpho-
           phalos, misshapen
  	     swelling,

     with its allure
of rotting flesh
           for the scarabs
	     to follow,

     hollow, to the sun-lit
trove, as though all
           dark were light
	     unbidden

    by our parsing
eye, and love itself
           hidden inside
      the word.

     Call it life
enrapt with death’s
           blight, blooming
                   briefly.


~


      Emergent morning
in the sweet gum triggering
            green, green
                   its wings

       fanning translucent 
below the porch light—angelic,
	a palm of light 
	       opening.

       Hallowed, hatched
each instar inches undercover,
	a spent thing
	       climbing

        larval, alluvial,
out of every cycle’s shelf-
	life, its rife
       	       unknowing,

        to become this end—
brief birth flying, flown, thrown
  	at midnight into
	       beginning.

        Mouth-less, it appears 
something bidden out of the dark,
	out of the broadleaf,
	        unmoving,

         to say something
wordlessly—the word we too
	can neither speak
	        nor sing.

Copyright © 2013 by Daniel Tobin. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on December 18, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Daniel Tobin. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on December 18, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Daniel Tobin