The moths came with a soft flutter
one night and burrowed into
the deepest recesses of cloth.
Their offspring had their fill, gnawed
the wool and cashmere mix of a coat
framed by a hanger, shaped like you.
They punched out holes, some like stars
which didn’t shine, coalesced into craters.
Silver dust littered the wardrobe carpet.
They were driven out, killed off a few times,
but younger generations grew,
attacked the arms, shoulders and back
until the coat was held together by threads.
Shrunken and spineless its days were numbered,
it shed bits of blue wool like tears.
About this poem
This poem is included in the second and third editions of Tools of the Trade: Poems for new doctors (Scottish Poetry Library, 2016 & 2019).
The 3rd edition of Tools of the Trade is edited by Dr Lesley Morrison, GP; Dr John Gillies, GP and Chair, Royal College of GPs in Scotland (2010-2014); Revd Ali Newell, and Samuel Tongue. We are grateful for the generous support of the Royal College of General Practitioners (Scotland) and The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland. You can read more about the project in here; and read many of the poems online; and you can buy copies in our Shop, and help us give more books to new doctors.
A copy of the first edition was given to all graduating doctors in Scotland in 2014 and 2015, and with support from RCGPS and the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland, to all graduating doctors from 2016 onward. We are very grateful for the individual donations which funded the cost of this anthology, and to the Deans of the Scottish medical schools who made it possible to give the books to their graduating students.