I recently found this awesome spider/insect-themed poem by Robert Frost:
I found a dimpled spider, fat and white
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth -
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right.
Like the ingredients of a witches’ broth -
A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.
What had the flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall? -
If design govern in a thing so small.
- Robert Frost, 1936
Although it’s not exactly pro-spider, I love this poem because you can tell what kind of spider it is. Clearly a dimpled, fat, white crab spider that hangs out on flowers with matching colors! It highlights this great American poet’s amazingly detailed observational skill and oneness with nature and his environment. Or, in another word, awesome!
What do you think of this poem and its themes? Does it give you the heebie-jeebies or inspire admiration for the ways of the natural world? Do you identify with the deceptive spider or the deceived moth? Or with the poet, who seeks a “design” but isn’t sure one can be found? Do you think there’s a design here, or indeed overall designs in nature, or do you think it’s all random and amoral?
I’d be very interested in hearing your comments! Also, if you have a favorite poem by Robert Frost, about nature, or both, I’d love to know what it is!