The gold moth did not love him
So, gorgeous, she flew away.
But the gray moth circled the flame
Until the break of day.
And then, with wings like a dead desire,
She fell, fire-caught, into the flame.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Langston Hughes's poem Fire-Caught


  1. foot licker says:

    I think that this poem explains that love can be dangerous and dramatic, the flames being a symbol for a certain man’s love. The gold moth in this poem is beautiful, so she seeks beautiful things in return. This is why she is dismissive of the flame, which you’d assume she’d be drawn to; she doesn’t find it worthy of her love and therefore flies away.
    But the gray moth is hopelessly drawn to the flame, and circles around it “until the break of day,” which I interpret as the point where the flame gives up the chase for the gold moth and realizes that the gray moth has been there all along, despite not being as beautiful as the moth he formerly coveted.
    And then, dramatically and passionately, she falls into the flames – this is when he finally accepts her love and the gray moth is consumed by the fire. If the gray moth has finally gotten what she wants, that being the man’s love, then I assume she is content to stay with the flame forever.

  2. kylie says:

    can someone please explain the significance of this poem. i am doing poetry homework and cant quite figure it out. thanks for the help!

  3. Reynaldo says:

    Well, the moth that fell into the flame was the female gold moth not the grey moth. So I feel like she was looking for someone or something more beautiful and captivating. She didn’t find it in the dull grey moth, even though he would be waiting there for her “until the break of day”. She found what she was looking for in the end…but not what she expected. That’s my understanding of this.

  4. Love Walker says:

    I think the poem represents the thing which we desire and the thing which we take for granted. In this case its love. The gold moth was beatiful and vain. We all seek beautiful things. Yet the “ugly duckling” demonstrated her love “until the break of day” and the guy moth neglected her because she didn’t fit his criteria. The gray moths death indicates fixation on the unattainable which results in her own demise.

  5. zeepsters says:

    This poem is about a moth falling into a flame- obviously the exterminator had been hunting the moth for a while and then finally got the best of it.

  6. unknown says:

    This poem is the most uniwue poem i have ever seen. it is very descriptive and thats what i like about my poetry.

  7. joe says:

    in this poem..its of lonliness…the beauty didnt want him. and left..the one that did cared and wanted him but cant always love what dont love you and died or left…and he ended up alone…

  8. Sara says:

    WOW!!! i love this poem. I think it means that someone might have taken the wrong road for awhile and reached a dead end and they couldn’t turn back.

  9. Ayyuwb Harrison says:

    The poem is cofusing but understanding at the same time.I think it is talking about love and a girl he liked.

  10. k says:

    i think this poem symbolizes what happens to a person when they chase something that is already gone and die mentally/physically because they are so heart-broken.

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