I never collected butterflies as a child, never owned a killing jar, never pinned spread wings flat on boards or boasted of my trophies to visitors. I did, however, own a butterfly net made from a piece of net curtain, a hoop of wire and a bamboo garden cane – well, maybe my brother owned it and I acquired it – which features in the poem Childhood posted last autumn.
I could also identify just about every adult butterfly in the book, though I was less expert when it came to caterpillars.Last week, then, when I came across the lovely creature in the photo, I knew it wasn’t a butterfly at all. It had to be a moth. In fact it’s a cinnabar moth, and common enough that I am surprised I’d never seen one before.
The final lines of the poem Childhood are:
The butterflies have flown away;
their colours paint my dreams.
I’m wondering now if in fact it is moths like this that add that dash of dream colour.