I’ve seen this spider around, I’m sure…
Yes, yesterday or the day before –
Precisely where she’s hangs right now,
So there she was before, I vow.
Hasn’t she got webs to spin –
I wonder if she’s dead, or just a skin ?
I’ve seen that spider around, I know,
Maybe a weeks or two ago –
I’m rarely here about my biz,
But when I am, well, there she is –
Hasn’t she got legs to move ?
A gentle blow…and yes !, she lives, I prove.
I’ve seen that spider around, I bet,
From month to month, we’ve clearly met.
She lurked right there, and always will –
Just dangling from her strand, so still.
Hasn’t she got flies to catch ?
I guess she must keep guard upon her patch.
I’ve seen that spider around, I’d swear –
This year, last year, she was there !
Hanging from the self-same thread –
And all I know is, she’s not dead.
Hasn’t she got eggs to lay ?
But I’ll forget her once I’m on my way.
When I wrote this, I had quite forgotten that I had already dealt with this topic two years earlier in Daddy Longlegs, which is uncomfortably similar. I’m also not really happy with using biz, but rhyme-needs must.
A cellar spider hangs in his web,
Head down, just where he always hangs –
He’s always on the same old strands,
Just waiting with the same old fangs.
Actually, is he dead ?
Or is this just his old skin suit ?
A gentle blow, and a gentle twitch
Confirms there’s life in the little brute.
I’ll pass again in a week or so –
I guess he’s eaten in between,
And maybe even met a girl,
And kept his cobweb nice and clean.
But then its back on the web to pose,
The same old web he proudly spun –
Until one day it’s time to go,
And pass the business to his son.
Unbeknownst to exis’tence,
Who lived in bodies, firm and dense,
There looked upon with apprehence
An unknown entity.
Beings of a diff’rent class,
Not formed of solid, liquid, gas:
For not one atom had they mass,
But weightless energy.
When they looked upon the Earth
In hill and cave and brook and firth,
They found the rocks had given birth
To life most tangible.
Life alive as mould and trees,
And slugs and crabs and honeybees,
And frogs and crows and chimpanzees,
With tooth and mandible.
“This is outright blasphemy !”
They screamed in thought-like energy
“For never life can ever be
Built with a hard physique.
And they live at such extremes
In ocean depths and fissure seams
And in another’s fluid streams.
With mutant-gained technique.”
Terrified by solid life
They blew apart this world-midwife,
For only there could such be rife,
And now it was destroyed.
Rock and lava shattered thence
And sped across the void immense,
Without a single thought or sense:
A thousand asteroids.
Thus were ended carbon forms
In fumigating magma storms,
Biomass now dusty swarms;
But all this life is hard to kill,
And even in the deathly chill
Of outer space, it’s clinging still:
Patient and tenacious
As the debris drifts afar,
So come the tugging of some star
Upon this frozen reservoir,
And bring about a thaw.
Let them countless orbits make,
And with an endless time to take;
One bacterium shall wake,
And life resume once more.
I cannot tell you why I should be so afraid,
Except I am.
Perhaps it’s evolution keeping me alive
That makes me scram.
But I have always hated spiders, big and small – Oh god, so small !
They’re lurking in this room, right now –
They lurk, until they crawl…
But sooner yet than later,
Then the peace between us must be made –
For I don’t want to be a hater,
When, oh please !, I hate to be afraid…
And with tarantulas – so big !- we get to see
Just how they’re built –
Their legs, their palps, their spinnerets,
Their onyx eyes and downy quilt…
Yet small ones have these too, too small to see –
But oh, they’ve got the lot,
Upon a strange and creeping body – Never let this be forgot !
But I am more than this, and greater –
I shall love them, I shall not be swayed.
For I don’t want to be a hater,
I don’t want to spend my life afraid.
Ladybird, Madam Ladybird, so good of you to call
Will you stay here a little, pack your wings up to crawl ?
Ladybird, Madam Ladybird, have you flown a long way ?
Do you come, Miss, for feasting, or have you eggs to lay ?
Ladybird, Madam Ladybird, your wing-case is ajar;
Won’t you stay a little longer, ere your au revoir ?
Ladybird, Madam Ladybird, how longer is your reign ?
Shall I meet you on the morrow, or never now again ?
Centipedes, ah centipedes, with more legs than blood veins,
Not like the millipedes – they’re rounder, you’re flatter.
Among the weeds are centipedes: articulated trains –
So how can you walk without causing a clatter ?
You gain two more segments each time that you shed:
That’s four legs per moulting, with more moults ahead.
So I don’t know, centipedes, quite how you succeed
When the insects can make do with six feet per tread.
Is it to lengthen your gut, or to strengthen
Your grasp on the earth, causing limbs to accrue ?
And if so, you sly lot, I’m wondering why not
Have billipedes, or trillipedes, or squillipedes too ?
Nat’ral selection, of course, has you firm in her grip:
It’s legs verses food, and at some point your fortunes must slip –
Though how many legs does it take for the balance to tip ?
Centipedes, ah plentipedes, with more legs than brains,
Though more brains than millipedes, if far fewer pins:
Bullet-headed batter-rams who plough through remains,
They’re moving slow by gearing low, to help sync their shins.
Silly slow millipedes, high in torque and low in speed –
Faster though than rotting leaves, upon which they feed.
You race them and beat them, you chase them and eat them –
But how many, Centipede, of legs do you ready need ?
Perhaps it’s your body that’s less planned than shoddy,
And just goes on growing till one day you pop.
You keep budding segments and each comes with legments,
All far too far back-there behind you to stop.
Centipedes, ah centipedes, you’re runners and dancers,
You’re bolted together, you’re slaloming chancers:
So rich in appendages, always – but so poor in answers.
Two wings for casing,
And two wings for flying,
Mouthparts for feeding,
And feelers for prying,
Six legs for crawling,
And two eyes for peeping –
Scuttling and swimming
And buzzing and creeping.
Hundreds of thousands
Of species most fine,
And all of them based on
One winning design.