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Moths That Drink the Tears of Sleeping Birds

Published Date: September 3, 2019

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6 x 9


Moths That Drink the Tears of Sleeping Birds is a book of poems and short prose pieces inspired by the life and times of author John B. Lee’s mother Lillian Irene Lee nee Busteed, (1925-2018). One of three daughters born on a farm in Kent County a short distance from Mull Crossing, John B. Lee’s mother grew up with one very simple dream: she longed to fall in love, and marry a farmer. Her dream realized she married John’s father George and lived the life of a farmer’s wife. The mother of two children, she was widowed in 2004 and then she began to show signs of dementia a few short years after her husband’s passing. The title of the book is inspired by a comment she made to her son when she saw the image of a blue butterfly on the wall of the nursing home, “is there such a thing as a blue butterfly, I’ve never seen one, have you?” Her son John soon set her straight telling her of the many kinds of blue butterflies there are in the world. The title poem is something of a lamentation for the decline of his mother’s slow loss of memory and it ends with the lines “I’ve learned there are moths/ that drink the tears/ of sleeping birds/… those moths/ with no common name/ those soft-winged thieves of weeping/ stealing the sorrow of night.” A loving portrait of a gentle yet fiercely independent woman, a celebration of a simple life of modest dreams, a bighearted and sometimes melancholy portrait of loss when loss is slow and sad and absolutely natural and necessary… as in the lines of a poem coming late in the collection “last night/ my mother took my hand/ in dream to mark my palm/ with raddled ash/ and gave permission for/ this letting go.” (from the poem “This Letting Go”)

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