The spider, dropping down from twig
Unwinds a thread of her devising:
A thin, premeditated rig
To use in rising.
And all the journey down through space,
In cool descent, and loyal-hearted,
She builds a ladder to the place
From which she started.
This I, gone forth, as spiders do,
In spider’s web a truth discerning,
Attach one silken strand to you
For my returning.
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.
And you, O my Soul, where you stand,
Surrounded, surrounded, 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.
Along the road the magpies walk
with hands in pockets, left and right.
They tilt their heads, and stroll and talk.
In their well-fitted black and white.
They look like certain gentlemen
who seem most nonchalant and wise
until their meal is served – and then
what clashing beaks, what greedy eyes!
But not one man that I have heard
throws back his head in such a song
of grace and praise – no man nor bird.
Their greed is brief; their joy is long.
For each is born with such a throat
as thanks his God with every note.
Judith Wright (1915-2000)
The Morning Star paled slowly, the Cross hung low to the sea,
And down the shadowy reaches the tide came swirling free,
The lustrous purple blackness of the soft Australian night,
Waned in the grey awakening that heralded the light;
Still in the dying darkness, still in the forest dim
The pearly dew of the dawning clung to each giant limb,
Till the sun came up from ocean, red with the cold sea mist,
And smote on the limestone ridges, and the shining tree-tops kissed;
Then the fiery Scorpion vanished, the magpie’s note was heard,
And the wind in the she-oak wavered, and the honeysuckles stirred;
The airy golden vapour rose from the river breast,
The kingfisher came darting out of his crannied nest,
And the bulrushes and reed-beds put off their sallow grey
And burnt with cloudy crimson at the dawning of the day.
James Lister Cuthbertson (1851-1910)
Is always very much alone,
Nor is the reason hard to trace
By those who’ve seen its form and face
It’s hard to realise a mite
Can be so venomous a sight,
Or in its little frame compress
Such concentrated ugliness.
Now wonder other creatures fly
Each time a Gecko ambles by.
No wonder that its chosen mate
Recoils from the connubial state.
Yet underneath its skin, we’re told,
There beats a heart of purest gold.
Its children do not know neglect;
It treats its mother with respect.
It never, ever beats its wife,
And lives a most unblemished life.
Its aspect is its sole defence
Against the world’s malevolence.
So when you see a Gecko stay
Uncharitable thoughts and say:-
“The gruesome are not always gross-
even a reptile bears its cross!”