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Poetry from the 3:15 Experiment 8/8/09: The Spider on the Wall (for Walt Whitman)

October 19, 2009

Sat. 8/8/09 3:15am
(for Walt Whitman)

The Daddy Long Legs Spider
looks dead there against
the soft green wall
his body a bit awkward
sideways legs akimbo
too flat

So I blow: give the air
a bit of a push
swing him lightly
on his web I can’t see

This is my first clue he’s alive.
He moves a bit then
beyond my volition
unflattens out his legs
and walks through air
up toward a painting.
He reaches stretches and
strides down again almost
the floor rests poised
waits for whatever comes next
feast or foe
or just the light
going out again

I wrote this poem at 3:15am as part of this year’s 3:15 Experiment where poets all over the world set their alarms and wake up to write at 3:15am local time. After I wrote this, I was reminded by Walt Whitman’s “Noiseless, Patient Spider” poem but I had no idea why and was more interested in going back to sleep. Now, in the light of day, I see the connection:

A Noiseless Patient Spider

And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.

A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.

Now to decide whether it will be one of the 100 3;15 poems I choose for the manuscript I am working on: Love and Terror at 3:15am–Poems from the 3:15 Experiment 2001-2009. What do you think?

For more poetry, ride the Train!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. October 20, 2009 12:08 am

    Your poem reminds me of my writing that I have also started to do.

  2. October 20, 2009 12:25 am

    I couldnt help but think of Charlotte’s Web when I read both these poems. Usually spiders are seen as bad things, so its nice to see them in a new light. I think that you should definitely have this on your manuscript.

  3. October 20, 2009 1:38 am

    I can see the connection, the flow from “looks dead there against/the soft green wall/
    his body a bit awkward”(you stand,/Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space”) to “He reaches stretches and/strides down again” (“filament, filament, filament, out of itself,/
    Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them”). There are obvious differences in language, meter and imagery but the idea, the string keeping them together …And Whitman’s reference to soul, brings new meaning into your poem…
    A keeper.

  4. October 20, 2009 5:17 am

    Thanks for the positive appraisal! I’m glad you too could see the connections between the two poems!

  5. October 20, 2009 9:26 pm

    I love the poem but I don’t like imagining a spider because Im terrified of them.

  6. October 21, 2009 12:12 am

    I think this is an amazing piece, and you should include it.

  7. October 22, 2009 4:28 am

    Kathy–sorry you’re scared of spiders and happy you love the poem!

    Cocoyea–yay! Good to see you back by here! Thank you for the high praise!


  1. Poetry from the 3:15 Experiment August 26 2009: compassion « art predator

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