Poem : On Seeing a Spider Weave Its Web

I have chosen, for this Thursday’s presentation, a poem I composed sometime around the middle of 2015 – a year that was, as far as my poetry is concerned, an annus mirabilis, a period of both unprecedented creative ferment and fecundity.

       I have deliberately chosen the word “composed” – to better describe a poem whose creation was simultaneously oral, aural, and written. As far as I am concerned, this poem is meant to be read out loud.

       I would like to draw your attention to the diacritics, (´) and (`), throughout the poem. They are respectively the accent acute, (´) and the accent grave (`). I have used them to indicate where to stretch (´) or emphasize (`) the indicated syllable; or sometimes, the consonant-sound next to the accented vowel. An experiment of my own (inspired by the phonetic rhythm of Kannada poetry in particular), the primary purpose of these diacritics is to suggest the rhythm of the recitation. I hope my own recital will make more clear what I mean.

[Note: The conceit of a spider weaving its web “out of itself” goes back to the Muṇḍaka Upanishat (ಮುಂಡಕೋಪನಿಷತ್). It is also found in one of Bendre’s most famous poems. It is possible that my use of it here was influenced by my reading of Bendre.]

 

On Seeing A Spider Weave Its Web

Your geometry’s beyond compare,
Weave, wéave your web in the evening air.

We who do not know your art,
We who cannot see your heart
Spèak of the cobwebs of the mind;
Márk the wisdom of mankind.
Your geometry’s beyond compare,
Weave, wéave your web in the evening air.

God’s own gymnast you are
Who tumbles through the air
To forge your web from out
The milky-spittle of your breast
With pause for neither breath nor rest.
Eight-needled spinner of your nest!
So dexterous and sedulous and fast,
Is every web you build your best?
Your geometry’s beyond compare,
Weave, wéave your web in the evening air.

Born architect of your own home,
You spiral ceaselessly into the placid
Centre of your snare –
With warp fìner than fìnest hair,
With weft so slight it’s barely there,
It seems no different from the air.
Your geometry’s beyond compare,
Weave, wéave your web in the evening air.

Your threaded, convex, ribbèd home
Is like invèrted geodèsic dome,
Woven by instinct, and instinct alóne;
And in this hanging home you sit –
Wàiting – wàiting – wàiting.
Your geometry’s beyond compare,
Weave, wéave your web in the evening air.

I see you there upon your height,
I see you now in the fading light,
Your pincers motionless and tight,
And in this evening light that’s going,
In this fragrant wind that’s flowing,
Among these butterflies’ flying,
Within your breast there must be growing,
Within you must be self-renewing
Another milky-spittled webbed delight.

2 thoughts on “Poem : On Seeing a Spider Weave Its Web

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