Archives for posts with tag: spiders

by Howard Nemerov

This morning, between two branches of a tree
Beside the door, epeira once again
Has spun and signed his tapestry and trap.
I test his early-warning system and
It works, he scrambles forth in sable with
The yellow hieroglyph that no one knows
The meaning of. And I remember now
How yesterday at dusk the nighthawks came
Back as they do about this time each year,
Grey squadrons with the slashes white on wings
Cruising for bugs beneath the bellied cloud.
Now soon the monarchs will be drifting south,
And then the geese will go, and then one day
The little garden birds will not be here.
See how many leaves already have
Withered and turned; a few have fallen, too.
Change is continuous on the seamless web,
Yet moments come like this one, when you feel
Upon your heart a signal to attend
The definite announcement of an end
Where one thing ceases and another starts;
When like the spider waiting on the web
You know the intricate dependencies
Spreading in secret through the fabric vast
Of heaven and earth, sending their messages
Ciphered in chemistry to all the kinds,
The whisper down the bloodstream: it is time.
“The Dependencies” appears in The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1977).

Painting: “The Web of Life” by Ellen Levinson, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Howard Nemerov (1920–1991) was twice Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, from 1963 to 1964 and again from 1988 to 1990. For The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov (1977), he won the National Book Award for Poetry, Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and Bollingen Prize. A distinguished professor at Washington University in St. Louis from 1969 to 1990, Nemerov was brother to photographer Diane Arbus and father to art historian Alexander Nemerov.

by Dean Young

Imagine, not even or really ever tasting
a peach until well over 50, not once
sympathizing with Blake naked in his garden
insisting on angels until getting off the table
and coming home with my new heart. How absurd
to still have a body in this rainbow-gored,
crickety world and how ridiculous to be given one
in the first place, to be an object
like an orchid is an object, or a stone,
so bruisable and plummeting, arms
waving from the evening-ignited lake,
heading singing in the furnace feral and sweet,
tears that make the face grotesque,
tears that make it pure. How easy
it is now to get drunk on a single whiff
like a hummingbird or ant, on the laughter
of one woman and who knew how much I’d miss
that inner light of snow now that I’m in Texas.

Source: Poetry (April 2013).

Photo: “Emerald Spider” by Kim Connors, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dean Young was born in Columbia, Pennsylvania, and received his MFA from Indiana University. His collections include Strike Anywhere (1995), winner of the Colorado Prize for Poetry; Skid (2002), finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Elegy on Toy Piano (2005), finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and Primitive Mentor (2008), shortlisted for the International Griffin Poetry Prize.  He has also written a book on poetics, The Art of Recklessness: Poetry as Assertive Force and Contradiction (2010). His poems have been featured in Best American Poetry. Young has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the low-residency MFA program at Warren Wilson College, and the University of Texas-Austin, where he holds the William Livingston Chair of Poetry.

by Elaine Equi



a spider
on the mirror.


the hour

like drops
of a spider’s


The silver drops,
the spider’s hour,
the mirror . . .

Source: Poetry (November 2008).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Elaine Equi‘s latest book, Ripple Effect: New & Selected Poems (Coffee House Press, 2007), was a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Award and short-listed for the Griffin Poetry Prize.

Photo: “Leggy Reflection” by Christine Gauthier, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Prints available at

by Charles Wright

The spider, juiced crystal and Milky Way, drifts on his web through the night sky
And looks down, waiting for us to ascend …
At dawn he is still there, invisible, short of breath, mending his net.
All morning we look for the white face to rise from the lake like a tiny star.
And when it does, we lie back in our watery hair and rock.
“Spider Crystal Ascension” by Charles Wright appears in Country Music: Selected Early Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 1982)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charles Wright (born August 25, 1935) is an American poet. He shared the National Book Award in 1983 for Country Music: Selected Early Poems and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1998 for Black Zodiac. (Read more at

PHOTO: “A twisted star-forming web in Galaxy IC 342” (NASA). Note: Looking like a spider’s web swirled into a spiral, the galaxy IC 342 presents its delicate pattern of dust in this image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. Seen in infrared light, the faint starlight gives way to the glowing bright patterns of dust found throughout the galaxy’s disk. (Read more at


Zen Yo-Yo
by Tom Robbins 

Brown spider dangling
from a single strand.
Up down, up down: 
Zen yo-yo.


Note: This haiku and several others appear in Wild Ducks Flying Backward: The Short Writings of Tom Robbins (Bantam, 2005).


Today, there is at long last glorious rain — which I love any day of the year — in Los Angeles. And whether or not you like rain — and I don’t think most Angelenos like it, judging by their elaborate moisture-averting wardrobes — we need it to keep the dry brush from bursting into flames.

The above paragraph is a preamble to saying I woke up to the beautiful sight of a quarter-sized (including the legs) spider in my bathtub, looking for shelter from the storm. I would have left him/her there, except my cat Clancy likes to chase and eat spiders — and I didn’t think it wise for the cat or the spider. So i captured said spider in a jar that once held Bonne Maman Cherry Preserves (great with plain greek yogurt) and ushered him/her outside, where I hoped the arachnid found a place to wait out the rain.

The above two paragraphs are a preamble to marking the 114th birthday of E.B. White, author of one of my all-time favorite books, Charlotte’s Web. Charlotte, as most people know, was the spider that was a “a good writer” and “true friend” to Wilbur — a pig she saves from the slaughterhouse. (And for those who believe in animal totems — or who find them interesting — spiders are the totem of writers.)

So let’s enjoy a passage from the delightful, charming, profound Charlotte’s Web, a masterpiece for young and old by E.B. White.

“You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.” 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Elwyn Brooks “E. B.” White (July 11, 1899 – October 1, 1985), was an American writer. He was a contributor to The New Yorker and a co-author of the English language style guide, The Elements of Style. He also wrote books for children, including Charlotte’s WebStuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan. In a 2012 survey, readers of School Library Journal voted Charlotte’s Web the top children’s novel of all time. (Read more at


“Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. Although he loved her children and grandchildren dearly, none of the new spiders ever quite took her place in his heart. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.” From Charlotte’s Web by E.B. WHITE

Illustration by Garth Williams

Thoughts: Can anyone read Charlotte’s Web and not experience  a full range of emotions? I love this book — it is one of my all-time favorites: a revelation, an inspiration, a wonder, a pleasure, a treasure, an amazement, a classic, a masterpiece!

Once I was bitten by a black widow spider on my inner right arm (my writing hand). My arm swelled up. I had lines of toxic venom traveling down my arm from the bite. My arm was hot and red and scary-looking. And all I could think about was Charlotte!

Yes, I felt I had been visited by my animal writing totem who had given me a gift! (I called poison control and they said if I wasn’t dead already I probably didn’t need the anti-venom. I knew it was a black widow because I found the dead spider on the floor. RIP.)

They say that spiders don’t bite unless you disturb them. In my case, I took some Christmas wrapping paper out of the closet, where it had been stored since the previous Yuletide. Apparently my black widow had been ensconced amid the snowmen and reindeer and I had disturbed the fairyland.