Full grown, and shiny brown as hazelnuts
they’ve slung their skeins of silk between the bushes
and the garden chairs, the leaves and roses.
All the garden glitters with desperation.
In their skeletons they feel its coming.
Soft pads taste the ancient bitter tang.
Waking will be harder every morning
and the stone of sleep heavier to carry
as they spin and weave.
The greenfly is long gone, the last late bumblebee
blunders through their sticky traps with ease.
Dimmed diamond eyes can only watch
the inedible rose bay seeds bob
in their unwilling captor’s shrouds.
The web’s gone, and my spider isn’t hiding,
waiting to spin again. Usually we’d snuggle up together,
he/she more comfortably than me perhaps,
although the spider drew its eight legs in,
its small brown body round as a scarified seed
and then I’d think to hold it, almost kill
it with inspection, as it hung webbed up for combat
between the Victorian whorls.
We’d sat together since the start of June
on the black arbour seat
sniffing the cool white jasmine,
my nose, its waving feet, tasting
the sweet bright air. But now September’s in.
There’s just one filament of web,
fine on the ironwork like baby hair,
breathing my in/out breath until it breaks.
‘Spider Times’ was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (May 2017)