Saturday, November 05, 2005

The bats in blackness

I like to find
what’s not found
at once, but lies

within something of another nature,
in repose, distinct.
I have always liked those lines from Denise Levertov’s Pleasures. Have used them before as an epigraph, to an essay written around an exhibition of works by the great New Zealand painter Ralph Hotere, an exhibition that I remember as consisting of a number of black paintings, but within the black were shades, & shapes.

Am reminded of the lines tonight. & the context in which I used them. There is a rugby game being played on the park below the house. The floodlights are on, but because they’re angled downwards, onto the field, the light is focused inwards, not outwardly diffused. Six banks of lights, at each corner & at the middle. There is a blanket of light beneath the top of the stanchions, but above them, on this moonless night, the black rests. Stars can be seen.

The lights attract moths. They show like sparks, but moving towards the source, a movie of a fire run backwards, the broken vase made whole again. Large moths, have to be to be seen at this distance. In the line of the lights they are all you can see.

But, step aside a bit, hold up your hand or use a branch to conceal that concentrated bright-light patch. Let your eyes adjust. & at the edges of the seepage you see the bats, shapes within the blackness, come to feast on the moths, to pick them off as their arc goes beyond the lights’ arc. An overlap, a Venn diagram, a feeding zone.

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