Guest poem submitted by Emily Cowan:
(Poem #608) The Spider's Web
The spider, dropping down from twig, Unfolds a plan of her devising, A thin premeditated rig To use in rising. And all that journey down through space, In cool descent and loyal hearted, She spins a ladder to the place From where she started. Thus I, gone forth as spiders do In spider's web a truth discerning, Attach one silken thread to you For my returning.
Original title: "Natural History" Years ago, on Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac (a daily radio broadcast of history, culture & poetry), I heard him read "The Spider", by E.B. White. I'm pretty sure it was called "The Spider"; it may have been called "The Web". It's about a spider's web that causes the author to think about attachment and love. It is a beautiful poem and is actually a love poem, I believe. Either that, or a poem about an obsession. I was trying to get over an obsessive love affair at the time and so found it very personally meaningful. But long after getting over that person, I've remembered the beauty and simple eloquence of the poem. I'd love to see it here. [I managed to found the poem on the web (nice little serendipitous pun there), and sent it to Emily - t.] Yep, that's the one. Not quite as stunning now as when I heard it, probably because I'm not broken-hearted anymore, but beautiful anyway. I like it because it illustrates how we draw so many parallels between our lives and nature. It's such a human trait to read personal and spiritual meaning into nature, who is just going along taking care of her own business. White also attributes all kinds of human thinking and feeling to this tiny insect: planning (organization), forethought, loyalty. Shows us what's on his mind, really. I wonder how he is going forth like a spider? Perhaps to procure the day's sustenance? Or some other, longer journey, that requires an attachment during his absence? Who is he reassuring with this thread? Himself or his beloved? Poetically, I especially like the way the last line of each verse is significantly shorter than the others; I think it makes the line ring in a much more pronounced, yet quiet, way. Less is more. Emily. [Links] Obviously, Donne's great Valediction, which uses a different conceit to express much the same basic idea: poem #330