Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: To a Garden Spider

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Leslie Moore of Brooksville is an artist especially noted for her portraits of dogs. She is also an accomplished poet, as today’s poem, about a black and yellow argiope, clearly shows.

To a Garden Spider by Leslie Moore

Dangling over the zucchini like a dangerous jewel,
you set up housekeeping amid the gladioli,
your silken web spanning stiff green blades,
and you, poised in its eye, alert to possibilities,
a black face silhouetted in yellow horror.
Below, squash bugs swarm the zucchini
leaving fat leaves in ashen heaps. I pluck
one from the horde and drop it onto your web.
Its six black feet catch fast in the interstices.
Your reaction is unequivocal.
A ripple of legs carries you to your victim. 
You cradle it in your eight-fold embrace.
A swaddling in shrouds from your spinnerets,
one paralyzing kiss, then you leave your prey
dangling to retake your silent center.
Your web is eloquent—a Charlotte’s web.
You write words with your artistry.
And what lessons, I wonder, would you teach me
about solitude and survival? What could I learn
from your deadly attention to detail?

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 1992 Leslie Moore. Reprinted from English Journal, National Council of English Teachers, April 1992, by permission of Leslie Moore. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, Special Consultant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at mainepoetlaureate@gmail.com or 207-228-8263. Take Heart: Poems from Maine, an anthology collecting the first two years of this column, is now available from Down East Books.