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22 January 2015

22 January 2015 – News from Japan

Death’s-head Hawk-moth (Acherontia atropus)

Here is the image that started it all. 

The Death’s-head Hawk-moth (Acherontia atrophus) is so extraordinary and so strangely beautiful that it attracts and repels in equal measure.  This particular one was hatched at Shandy Hall in 2006 and (along with half-a-dozen others) proved to be a lure for local school-children and visitors from all over the county. The moth was persuaded onto a copy of Tristram Shandy, opposite the page that tells of the death of Parson Yorick, and the photograph was taken. (I trust that the association is clear enough without further explanation.) Nowadays I would have dozens of images but this is the only record of that time.

Now the moth’s reputation has flown to Japan and settled on a page in the form of a haiku by the writer Abigail Parry.  The poem has been translated into Japanese by students from Yamanashi Prefectural University, Kofu and that translation appears today in one of Japan’s oldest newspaper Asahi Shimbun.  The article informs the nation that there is to be a presentation of haiku this coming weekend which will include poems by Billy Collins (Poet Laureate USA 2000-2003), Maura Dooley, Roger Keyes and students.

Asahi Shimbun article

Death’s-head Hawk-moth

The dance in full swingand that slender fellow there,cracking his knuckles.

Abigail Parry

Another from a writer at Goldsmiths, University of London:

moths caught in headlights –dancing maniacs drunkon the fake moonshine.

Rebecca Farmer

(See the notice at the top of this blog for a parallel event due to take place in February at the University of York.)

Needless to say there is very little moth activity in the gardens at Shandy Hall. Winter Moths and November Moths can still be seen occasionally and the eggs of the December Moth await Spring, otherwise all is cold and quiet.