AN ARACHNID AND HER TAJ MAHAL

‘Tis the season for critters.  It’s been unseasonably warm this week and the bugs are back in force.  Big, bumbling “carpenter” bees pollinating things, or maybe building a hive around the corner.  Primordial-looking stink bugs emerging from winter hibernation.  House flies.  Fleas.  And the most dreaded of all creepy-crawlies, ticks—Lyme disease, anyone? Around this time last year, or maybe two years ago, a tiny spider began constructing a home in my potted lime tree.  Is there such a thing as a “carpenter” spider?  Every day, I’d think about moving her outside, but then, I’d see the artistic additions she had made to her web overnight and change my mind.  This cascade poem is for her:

SCHEHERAZADE

An eight-legged Scheherazade
spins a new yarn every night,
slowly building a silken castle
that delights and fascinates me

Early summer, she crossed my
threshold, took up residence in
a potted plant, and pled to stay,
an eight-legged Scheherazade

She sleeps all day, striped legs
folded neatly around her body,
while her industrious alter ego
spins a new yarn every night

On a solid foundation, she adds
an east wing, a towering turret,
and a series of flying buttresses,
slowly building a silken castle

Her keen architectural prowess
is revealed in the morning sun
a shimmering, glittering genius
that delights and fascinates me

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18 thoughts on “AN ARACHNID AND HER TAJ MAHAL

    • Just Joan May 6, 2018 / 11:34 am

      Thanks, PB. The web was anchored in the soil and stretched to a low branch. It looked like a teepee at first. The silk was so fine and thin that you barely noticed it unless the sun was shining on it. Every morning, there would be an addition to it. And she would be curled up in or on it, fast asleep. Over the many months I watched her, I never saw an insect get caught in the web. Maybe our Zen Master cat got them all; he’s quite skilled at grabbing flies in mid-air. Perhaps that’s why she eventually left. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Tippy Gnu May 6, 2018 / 9:24 am

    Eek. I’m terrified of spiders. Hate to say it, but I’d send Sinbad to destroy her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan May 6, 2018 / 11:45 am

      She was very small, Tippy. Legs and all, about the size of my thumbnail. She never charged me or threatened me in any way, she was always asleep when I saw her. I would have taken her outside if I didn’t want her around. I’m OK with crushing ticks or swatting flies (who do not seem to have a purpose other than vampiring my dogs and repeatedly landing on my potato salad), but I spare the spiders and bees so they can do the jobs nature intended, like insect control, pollination, making honey, etc. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Peter Klopp May 6, 2018 / 9:55 am

    It is very rare to have such a beautiful poem written on a spider. Your drawing also goes well with the poetic lines. I am impressed!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan May 6, 2018 / 11:55 am

      Thanks, Peter. I’ve been told I “romance the ordinary” and that is the basis for much of the poetry I write: food, flowers, line-dried laundry, farm markets, walks with my dogs, etc. I cannot take credit for the drawing; I only wish I was that talented. I tried on many occasions to photograph the ever-expanding Arachnid Taj Mahal, but the pictures never did it justice. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Marissa Bergen May 6, 2018 / 12:52 pm

    For some reason, spiders never bother me too much. Roaches, yes, but spiders are okay. Lovely tribute.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan May 6, 2018 / 1:21 pm

      Thanks, Marissa. I think of spiders as friendly creatures. I had forgotten all about roaches until I read this. Ohio has few, compared to warmer climates where I’ve lived (like Florida). I think bugs differ by location. I remember years ago when my nieces visited from Utah in the summer. My sister had told them they’d get to see fireflies and they didn’t believe her, they thought she was pulling their leg. 🙂

      Like

  4. chevvy8 May 6, 2018 / 3:09 pm

    Beautiful poem Joan. I love your clever comparison to Scheherazade’s spinning of yarns that saved her life and enarmoured her with the king as the spider has endeared herself to you. A spider’s web is indeed a work of art and it’s interesting how many analogies we can draw with a spider’s web. Of course, I wouldn’t take too many chances getting close to spider. Someone showed me a button spider last week and small as it is it quite lethal.
    Enjoy the rest of your Sunday my dear.😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan May 6, 2018 / 3:40 pm

      Thanks, Chevvy. Yes, that’s how she got her name. I wondered what drove her to keep building and creating, since she wasn’t catching food or needing more space for a mate or babies. Art for the sake of art, I guess, which resonated with me. Lots of analogies to pick from… the tangled webs we weave, theories of universal interconnectedness, mythical threads of fate controlled by Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, even the Internet aka Worldwide Web. I agree that some small spiders can be deadly, but most are perfectly harmless. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Matilde Tavares May 6, 2018 / 4:10 pm

    Joan, I’m always amazed at your talent! I wish I could be as articulate and creative as you! Keep up the awesome work! I love your poetry

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan May 6, 2018 / 8:03 pm

      Thanks, Matilde, always great to hear from you. You have a pretty amazing range of talents yourself, Wonder Woman! 🙂

      Like

  6. L. T. Garvin, Author May 8, 2018 / 4:36 pm

    What a clever comparison, Joan. This is a lovely tribute to a spider, she seems so small and fragile, and not scary like those big, black jumping ones. I was totally engrossed in the silken castle with its buttresses and turrets. Wonderful poem, Joan. Will the lime tree be going out to visit with the Kiwis anytime soon? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan May 9, 2018 / 3:15 pm

      Thanks, Lana! Scheherazade was not scary at all, very low-key and docile. Her web was an amazing architectural feat, and I was eager to see what she would add next. She stuck around for six months or so and left on her own, never to return–a sad day. The Kiwis are leafing out, enjoying the sunshine and whatever fellow plants they can reach. The lime tree is strictly indoor; he thrives in the diffused light and controlled climate of our north-facing Bay window. I put him outside one summer and the direct sun and drenching rains almost killed him. Have a great week! 🙂

      Like

    • Just Joan May 12, 2018 / 5:19 pm

      Thanks, KE. The littlest things can provoke a sense of wonder and amazement, if only we take time to look, to appreciate. Of course, that’s second nature for you and your camera. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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