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Spiders Analysis

Author: poem of Delmore Schwartz Type: poem Views: 4

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Is the spider a monster in miniature?

His web is a cruel stair, to be sure,

Designed artfully, cunningly placed,

A delicate trap, carefully spun

To bind the fly (innocent or unaware)

In a net as strong as a chain or a gun.

There are far more spiders than the man in the street


And the philosopher-king imagines, let alone knows!

There are six hundred kinds of spiders and each one

Differs in kind and in unkindness.

In variety of behavior spiders are unrivalled:

The fat garden spider sits motionless, amidst or at the heart

Of the orb of its web: other kinds run,

Scuttling across the floor, falling into bathtubs,

Trapped in the path of its own wrath, by overconfidence

  drowned and undone.

Other kinds - more and more kinds under the stars and

  the sun -

Are carnivores: all are relentless, ruthless

Enemies of insects. Their methods of getting food

Are unconventional, numerous, various and sometimes


Some spiders spin webs as beautiful

As Japanese drawings, intricate as clocks, strong as rocks:

Others construct traps which consist only

Of two sticky and tricky threads. Yet this ambush is enough

To bind and chain a crawling ant for long


The famished spider feels the vibration

Which transforms patience into sensation and satiation.

The handsome wolf spider moves suddenly freely and relies

Upon lightning suddenness, stealth and surprise,

Possessing accurate eyes, pouncing upon his victim with the

  speed of surmise.

Courtship is dangerous: there are just as many elaborate

  and endless techniques and varieties

As characterize the wooing of more analytic, more

  introspective beings: Sometimes the male

Arrives with the gift of a freshly caught fly.

Sometimes he ties down the female, when she is frail,

With deft strokes and quick maneuvres and threads of silk:

But courtship and wooing, whatever their form, are


By extreme caution, prudence, and calculation,

For the female spider, lazier and fiercer than the male


May make a meal of him if she does not feel in the same

  mood, or if her appetite

Consumes her far more than the revelation of love's


Here among spiders, as in the higher forms of nature,

The male runs a terrifying risk when he goes seeking for

  the bounty of beautiful Alma Magna Mater:

Yet clearly and truly he must seek and find his mate and

  match like every other living creature!


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