(June 4, 2012)

This morning, as I stood
in the portico, welcoming
students to their last school-day,
I saw a spider, gently, deliberately,
Unspinning its web, one sticky strand
At a time.

It wound the threads
Back into its spinnerets
Like a sailor coiling ropes
Into the lazaret,
Reefing the sails
Against the coming storm.

What a storm, too:
Glowering black clouds,
Fierce black frigates
Before the wind, gunports open,
Showing menace to the spring,
and setting all at hazard:
Nearby newspaper told
Of unemployment up,
Markets down, war and threat of war,
Government unsteady.

And yet, into this gale,
My little spider with arms akimbo,
Gathered in her remaining silks,
And wove a single spinnaker.
She leapt from the schoolhouse porch,
Direct into the roaring jaws of the day.
Stiff breeze filled her silken balloon,
And she sailed outward to a complex
Uncertain destiny, equipped only
with what she’d just finished gathering in.


  1. I love this. Also blown away at the idea of a spider unspinning its web. Have never seen or even heard this before.

    • I’m told that they don’t actually pull their silk back into their spinnerets. They just let it go so fast that the breeze catches it. But they DO build balloons or parachutes akin to spinnakers, and go flying sometimes… a great way to pick a new location if the hunting in one place is bad.

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