Moth in candle wax


Drawn as if by smoke, I drifted

Through the colonnade. At the altar

Rose candlelight, the perfumed mists

Of incense, the aftermath of vespers.

I beheld the ancient candle, melts

Down itself, stalactites, forever

Layering the ritual, sediment, silts

Of centuries’ faiths: over and over

Our Ave Maria. And at such sights

I doubt: drawing darker, drawing nearer

There proved to be a lonely moth

Preserved in the landslide, wax as clear

As ice, lost in faith’s aftermath:

Like a widow’s ring, a fly in amber,

Trapped by art and layers of white belief,

Preserved in faith like bones of ancient martyrs.


The tragedy of a living creature, quietly beautiful, caught in the creeping devastation of candle wax – lava in the avalanche of ritual – was just too lovely not to write about. 


2 thoughts on “Moth in candle wax

  1. Dear James What a lovely poem. I am transported. Indelible images. Love Gran PS altar?

    Sent from my iPad


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