Odds and Sods – When is a Moth?

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My daughter, then a very young schoolgirl, asked me to help her with some homework.  What, her teacher wanted to know, is the difference between a moth and a butterfly?  After careful thought, I realised I had no idea, so I wrote her this.  I’m not sure that it helped…

Can somebody please tell me why
A moth is not a butterfly?
They don’t look like two different things,
For goodness sake – they’ve both got wings.
You don’t need to be very bright,
To know that moths come out at night,
While butterflies will visit flowers,
But only in the daylight hours.


So, could someone explain to me
Why butterflies, alone, should be
Allowed the joy of daylight flight
Whilst moths just get the kitchen light.
I find it very sad to say
They’ll never see the light of day,
But just as sad, the other’s plight –
To never see the stars at night.


Why don’t they both try to agree
To change about occasionally.
I’m sure the moth would like the chance
To watch a field of daisies dance:
To flutter through the highest trees
In morning light and summer breeze.
To taste the nectar, cool and sweet
And stretch their wings in sunshine’s heat.


But pity, too, the butterfly
Who never sees a moonlit sky
Or flies with street lamps overhead
And frightens children in their bed.
Perhaps he might want just one chance
To fly into a dinner-dance
And flutter through a barbecue…..
Or scare your granny on the loo!

14 thoughts on “Odds and Sods – When is a Moth?

  1. See, now that’s whimsy! Isn’t it great how random things can start a chain of thought? It’s like ‘if a butterfly flaps its wings in Peking…’
    This ex-pupil thinks there’s every chance she
    Comprehensively dismissed your flight of fancy,
    Sad fact is, Teachers are deadly dully logical,
    To get a tick, stick to the strictly entomological.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow, look what you started Colin. From a really good poem of yourn, we all wanting to join in.
    Moths tend to tent at night their wings,
    To keep out the cold and camo things,
    Butterflies though sunbathe or pray,
    Warmed up they then will flap away.

    Liked by 1 person

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