The Prince of Moths

I dreamt myself a Prince of Moths
Upon a brittle autumn leaf;
And, though a novice in my state
Of wings and things, I found I took
Quite readily: I fashioned up
A crown of thorns and glittering moss,
With a pile of blossoms, laced with webs
And iridescent spiders’ legs,
With feathers glossed with gossamer
And freckled dew of violet hue.

Thus decked, I leaped and left my leaf,
And viewed myself in silver pools;
And reasoned that a moth like I,
Of state and breeding, should desire
Estate and wealth, and thus acquire
An industry and beauteous bride.
I fashioned in a hollow tree
A quarry for the ants to mine,
With beetles as their keepers, set
To dig for me for treasures fine:
For gems of old, and treasuries
Of elven wealth and fairy gold;
And deep they dug, and so brought forth
Fine trinkets rare from ages lost;
And with these I could set me up
As a business-moth of fine repute.

I forged myself a partnership
With a voluptuous spider crab,
Grown rich in sales of mollusc oil,
Who promised me his daughter’s hand:
And so a wedding feast we planned,
By no means bland, but stately grand,
Where she, my briny bride-to-be,
Ascended blushing from the sea,
All corseted in sea-salt foam.
(The dress with set extended trims
On the account of extra limbs.)
As coral chorister choirs did sing,
I offered her an oaken ring
And promised, if she’d be my own,
No more this Prince of Moths should roam.

And now, secure in nuptial glow,
My love and I set up our home
(With new-made, roomy nursery)
Within the quarry’s canopy;
And, lullabied by night’s refrain,
We sip on cups of sweet champagne
Served by an eldritch honey bee,
Admiring the toil below,
As beetles whip and drive the ants
To pull gold, sweating, from the earth,
The worth of which will warm the hearth
Of home, and glow of new romance.

And so ’til forest laws reform,
Forbidding mining fairy gold,
Or insect unions take a stand
And stop ants being bought and sold
(Or, I suppose, ’til I awake,
And find this all to be a dream)
I’ll laugh at any he that scoffs,
And so remain a Prince of Moths.

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