Poetry and Pictures from the Yorkshire Dales by Alan Hartley

dales poetry headerPhotograph ©David Tarn


To the common garden spider, Araneus diadematus

araneus-cecilia.jpgCecilia GoodmanWithin the hedge, back-lit by morning sun,
The web of queen Araneus is spun.
I marvel at her power to create
Something so exquisite, so delicate:
Dew-laden gossamer's soft shimmering,
A beauty that I can't forget.
Is it a jewel gently glimmering,
Or gladiator's weighted net?

I have a mystery that holds me here.
Perhaps, I feel the hypnotism of fear,
Or is it just the human need
To look for beauty that is ultimate?
I watch and leave the quandary to its fate.
And fate comes creeping slow and cautiously.
He starts a strumming on the silken net
And she then dances as a marionette,

While he approaches jigging, strumming still,
Sensing acceptance, boldly enters in
To dance the final courtship reel,
Then swiftly consummate, fulfil.
Transfixed, I watch the final act begin.
He is transformed, stripped of his sexual zeal,
He is no longer gallant troubadour,
Merely a small post-nuptial meal.

She now has all that she desires, and more,
The prospect of a seething spider brood
Who'll sail away on gossamer
When their time comes to search for food:
To spin and weave, to kill and feed,
Eventually to mate and breed.
And for this endless morbid carousel
The fearsome mother, murdering wife
Will give her tiny, precious life;
A history almost too sad to tell.

And yet, I must remember that she gave
A vision of the beauty that we crave;
For this we thank Araneus,
And crown her diadematus.