Poetry Preview: The Blue Moth of Morning by P.C. Vandall

The Blue Moth of Morning

We all know that poetry is a many-splendored genre. Its primary claim to fame is often its capacity to convey great depths of emotion in creative ways that prose can’t always match. But with such lofty possibilities, I think many readers often dismiss poetry as too literary or pretentious or hard to understand. The truth is, poetry can break your heart and cause you to scratch your head, but it can also be just plain fun and offer a delightful opportunity for readers to experience the joy of playing with language.

P.C. Vandall’s The Blue Moth of Morning is exactly the kind of poetry that fits into this category. I particularly appreciate the clever turns of phrase peppered throughout, as well as the delightful little instances of language-induced humour. Don’t get me wrong–there’s definitely a lot of emotion and intelligence in this poetry, but the wordplay serves to inject levity into some serious topics such as aging and relationship woes. The triumph of it is that it does so in a way that feels true to life and in many ways charmingly optimistic.

Keep reading for a peek inside this book, which will be in print very soon!

Excerpt from The Blue Moth of Morning

Waste Not, Want Not

For Sherin Mathews, who was found dead in a culvert
after her adopted father force-fed her milk

Consider everything—the small space
between bones and teeth, cracks of light, hollows
of darkness, calcium and cartilage.

Contemplate whether the glass is half-full
or half-empty, whether to weep if milk
spills in moonlit rivers across a floor?

Somewhere a stove pot froths at the lip
and boils over and somewhere it soothes
a wee one’s cry. If the cup were brimming

with twilight, the stars could flitter like fire-
flies and burn holes through the blackness. Maybe
someone thought the milk was spoiled and poured it

down the drain, not knowing it could catch
in the pipes and clog. If the milk were left
to stand it might’ve grown skin. Even something

seemingly sour can turn sweet again.
In the dead of night, coyotes take nips
at the moon and the details film over

like a half-digested dream. It wasn’t long
ago that kids were found on milk cartons
and folks knew better than to dispose of them.

Matrimonial Cake

The honeymoon is over and now I hurl
things at your head for impact. I usually miss
the mark but make a point. Other times I punish

you with silence, sprawl out on the sofa
till I choose to make up our bed. When the mood strikes
I list off all the things you’ve done to hurt me,

lay it down like bricks between us and then stare
blankly at the wall like it’s the frame
of our future—dark, cold and unforgiving.

I have to admit I’ve defended myself
with lines from chick flicks, peeled out of the driveway
for dramatic effect. I’ve picked up the phone,

laughed heartily into the receiver
and then made romantic dinner plans
with the dial tone. Other times, I’ve left

the yellow pages opened up to divorce
lawyers, my computer screen on,
a passport and bikini at the front door. I do

these things because of the matrimonial cake
we served at our wedding. Mother reminded us
of its bumpy top, sweet filling and firm base.

Neither of us remembers how it tastes,
but we both agree there were many dates
and that it crumbled apart in our hands.

About the Author

P. C. Vandall is the author of three collections of poetry: Something from Nothing, (Writing Knights Press, 2013) Woodwinds (Lipstick Press, 2013) and Matrimonial Cake (Red Dashboard, 2014). Her work has appeared in numerous magazines in Canada as well as England, Ireland, the United States, India, and Australia. She resides on Gabriola Island with her husband and two children.


If you can’t wait to read The Blue Moth of Morning, you’re in luck—you can download the ebook edition right now in our eStore. Print copies will be available soon, so stay tuned!



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The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.