A translucent shred of menace

August 27, 2018

IN his brilliant poem, The Mosquito, D.H.Lawrence described the creature as 'a translucent phantom shred' that was 'obscenely ecstasied, sucking live blood.'

I always rate writers on their ability to produce phrases I wish I could have written. If H L Mencken is my journalistic hero, Lawrence is his literary equivalent.

This picture captures ( I hope) the spectral form of the mosquito, a creature with which I was all too familiar during my 14 years in the Bahamas. I often wondered at their ability to land on your skin and suck you dry without betraying their presence. It was only afterwards, when they had drunk your blood and flown away, that you became aware of the irritating aftermath.

Lawrence, of course, put it better.

'Such silence, such suspended transport, such gorging, such obscenity of trespass,' he wrote, describing the mosquito's 'enspasmed oblivion' as it took its fill. That's the kind of writing that makes you stop and savour the words -  the moment you recognise that you are in the presence of genius.

Anyway, here it is. Mosquito by John Marquis. Enjoy.

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