Sunday, May 17, 2009


I titled my senior project portfolio "Gypsy Moths" because of this. I may have even been inspired to mirror (cough *steal*) some of it for my main poem.
This is one of my absolute favorite passages in any book I've read and the reason why I feel happy when I see a moth fluttering around my room or around a streetlamp at night.

On the path now, urged leftward toward a stand of maples, I hear the sound of droplets falling through the leaves. It can't be raining. There are still stars visible intermittently overhead. No: here are the gypsy moths, still in their caterpillar form, chewing at the maple and serviceberry leaves, devouring our neighborhood forest leaf by leaf. Night gives them no rest. The woods have been infested with them, and during the day the sun shines through these trees as if spring were here, bare stunned nub of gnawed and nibbled leaves casting almost no shade on the ground where the altered soil chemistry, thanks to the caterpillars' leavings, has killed most of the seedlings, leaving only the disagreeably enlarged thorny and deep root systems. The trees are coated, studded, with caterpillars, their bare trunks hairy and squirming, I can barely see them but can hear their every scrape and crawl...
...And in my night confusion it is as if I can hear the leaves being gnawed, the forest being eaten alive, shred by shred. I cannot bear it. They are not mild, these moths. Their appetites are blindingly voracious, obsessive. An acquaintance has told me that the Navahos refer to someone with an emotional illness as "moth crazy."
-Charles Baxter
The Feast of Love

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