Flashing over polished stones,
our candles bobbed
like plums in cold water
and glanced across the foxgloves
and cow parsleyscenes we had breasted
in the tang of that late summer afternoon’s high smoulder.
Lured on by lamps piercing the dark,
a theatre of our cheekbones and foreheads
we made our way across the shingle to lay
sugared offerings and wait
to see the moth of its kind the last.
Splendid of underwing and crimson burning eye it had clung
to this half mile of deserted strand
surviving storm,heat breaking wave
changing air encroaching sea and crumbling land.
So it fed
and we watched
its wings, breathe in and out
as if in ecstasy
its proboscis plunging the flowing rags
of treacle and rum
sucking like an opium addict
the sticky manna we had made.
in the juddering beam of its scarlet eye
but with broken wing
it flashed from the clutch of earth
to simply vanish
as if to chide us for being late comers.
Now only air, dark water and fading land
hollow eyed and parchment skinned
marks the empty road back home.