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last update:
5 May24

Janet Hatherley photo
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Janet Hatherley at Dempsey & Windle
listen to poem
I’m not afraid
& see more poems, p3

poetry favourites:
The British Haiku Society

and in the shop…
collections –
“On the road to Candianda”,
“What Rita Tells Me”,
Dempsey & Windle




You will have many friends if you need them

and one of them is this hummingbird hawk-moth
buzzing down into the garden as the day
closes and the bees disappear. I hear them
dip onto the pink heads of the tall village flowers,
even the ones past their best. The scent I can’t smell
fascinates these bird-moths, the letting-go
gradual, reluctant, the draw from the next
high flower catching, as it ruffles in the evening breeze
inviting the uncurling of a proboscis.
Just as the last swallows leave, the first bat
kinks its wings in crazy flight
lacing high overhead.
Me, I take the smallest footstep, stop – get
near to you, see exactly what you are.
Only a bird (or a moth) evolved to
puzzle predators, so no bird will eat you –
quivering wing-beats, thirty a second. You’re safe.
Really, it’s the ground that holds danger.
See this white cat? It thinks you’re a bird,
tracks you with its one blue eye, one yellow. A cat from
Üzümlü, picking its way through the thistle field, a
Van cat – brings you down, pats, chews, plays
with you until boredom kicks in and you are dead. No, not yet
extinguished, you fly up into the night. One
yellow eye, one blue, stare fixed. A tail flicks.
Zero hummingbird hawk-moth.

Janet Hatherley

published in Stand, 2019;
in collection On the road to Candianda, 2024, Dempsey & Windle, ISBN 978-1-917101-04-2