Like Moths to the Bogong Plains – A Poem

I have to start this post by saying that on Wednesday we had 70mm of rain – or 2 and 3/4 inches – and at long last, the dams have started to rise. More rain is definitely needed – but praise the Lord, it is so good to see water levels rising!

Turtley awesome weather!

As a part of my contribution to the recent #AuthorsForFireys auction, I offered a new-for-you poem about an Australian animal. The winning bid was for a poem about a Bogong moth. There were in fact two bids for a Bogong moth poem – which sparked my curiosity. I mean, we’ve* all heard of a Bogong moth – but what exactly is it, and what makes it special? I thought it might be one of those gianormous (takes up the palm of your hand) moths that I have seen on rare (two) occasions – but no! It’s the common, average-sized brown moth that we see fairly frequently. So – what is special about the Bogong moth, that two people would be requesting poems about it?

I started digging around… and tinkering with poems. I didn’t write one poem, but three; a nonet, a free verse and a mini-mouthful – that may require a dictionary to decode! I had to write three, because the free verse alone felt unfinished. And I’d started playing with a nonet – which I really liked. And actually, those near-rhyming mouthfuls of words were just too perfect to ignore! And the Bogong moth is deserving of three poems!

Since the auction item offered a signed version of the poem, and I had no appropriate pictures to hand to pretty-up the page, I drew a Bogong moth… and actually, if I’m honest, I’m quietly chuffed with it… (Since I’m definitely not an artist!)

This new-for-you creation is for Ivy and Aida, from Brian. (I sent a signed version off to them last week. Though I just made some tweaks – including to the page orientation. Why am I always changing things??!?)

So – what makes a Bogong moth special? Read on…

© Kathryn Apel – All rights reserved.

An amazing pic of tiles of Lepidoptera is here.

Moths tend to pale into insignificance beside brighter butterflies – but this little achromatic aviator is amazing. I’m glad I got to research and write about it! Thanks Bren and Brian, for the inspiration!

The lovely Laura Salas is hosting the Poetry Friday round-up at Writing the World for Kids. Be sure to check out her blog – and then follow the links for today’s poetry goodness.

*In Australia, at least.


29 comments

  1. Good Morning, Dear Kat! Because of the time difference between us I was reading your beautiful post last night. But, because of my marathon day at school from 7:45 am until 7:45 pm … I fell asleep before I could really get a good read and comment intelligently. This is a fabulous post! I am sorry to admit, I’d not heard of a Bogong moth before. And, I loved the photo of the tiles. So neat! What great poems…all three. The beginning of a collection? You make me itch to write a nonet. Hmmmmm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funnily enough, your comment popped in here late last night – so I went off to sleep smiling and thinking of you. (And woke up laughing, reading your post!) A nonet is a lot of fun (much more natural than a Terza Rima😆) so I think you should twitch that itch and try one. 🙂

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    • Thank-you, lovely. It was a fun project – and I learnt so much (more than I used). They’re fascinating and yet, so ordinary. Which just goes to show that looks can be deceiving – and we all are unique and special! Enjoy your busy celebration with the launch of your wonderful Dictionary! xx

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    • That cave photo is amazing, isn’t it. Apparently the floor of the caves can be up to a metre thick with moth detritus. And there were even concerns about arsenic levels in the moths – from sprays in the breeding grounds. But recent studies have shown that they’e at natural levels – and not a concern for humans or animals. #fascinatingfact

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  2. These moths may be common and ordinary in your neck of the woods, but they are new to me. Thank you for sharing your research and creative expressions for these fascinating moths. Yea for rain!

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  3. No rain again, but lots of snow today & last night. We’ll take it. I’m happy for your rain, Kat! Your drawing of the Bogong moth is wonderful, glad you’re proud, nicer than a photo! And your poems tell us a lot. I’m sure it’s not the same but we have scads of little moths that arrive in summer. I need to research more about it. Like you, unless they’re those huge ones, I pay so little attention. I love “underrated navigator”!

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    • Loving your snow photos, Linda. Would you normally get rain during snow season? Or more a summer thing? The skies are dark and rumbling here at the moment – but I don’t think they’re carrying much rain. I always thought moths had a short lifespan. Was amazed that they lived for so many months. And flew so far! (And could navigate their way in the dark – so not reliant on landmarks.)

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      • If warm enough, we can get rain all seasons, but really, it’s a semi-arid climate, so get little rain anytime. The mountain snows fill the reservoirs so most always we have plenty of water to water crops & lawns, etc. I’m going to need to research our moths now!

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    • Alpine, as in, relating to high mountains.🙃 In the Australian Alps. It can be up to 1500km from their breeding grounds. Quite incredible distances, especially since it’s always the first flight (there) – and then they navigate the return flight. Both at night.

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  4. What a treat your recipient received, 3 poems for one–and a wonderful-bat-filled collection! I especially like your “Achromatic Aviator” poem, and the lovely bat drawings, thanks Kat! BTW I had to look up your Bogong Bat because of part of it’s name, Achromatic, which I use often when teaching art and explaining the use of one color–which your lovely bat is.

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    • Giggling at you and your bats, Michelle. But I know what you mean! (I think the dentist may had muddled you for a minute.) I described it as achromatic – but it isn’t actually a part of its name. Just me playing with words.🙃

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  5. Love your poems, Kat, and how the three of them complement each other so well on the page. It’s a beautiful presentation! I never heard specifically of “Bogong” moths when I was living in Oz, though I certainly remember the Sydney moth infestation in 2007! Egads, the winged house guests got to be a bit much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Michelle – chances are your winged guests (or some of them atleast) were Bogong moths. They sometimes get confused by the lights and make detours. Apparently Parliament House gets infestations… and the Australian Open has been impacted over the years. (Lucky you!😂)

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