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September 29, 2009

Spider silk tapestry. They wove a tapestry from spider silk. Now on display at the American Museum of Natural History. Spider. Silk. really. caution for the phobic: links contain images of spiders

Spiders are cool and sometimes hang out with important people. That said, the fabric is gorgeous. I'd love to touch it.

BTW I like spiders. There's one in my bathroom right now, catching flies left over from summer. She's lovely and dignified, doesn't bother anyone (other than the flies of course) and is quite tidy. We chat while I take my morning shower.

I wish all my guests were as pleasant to have around.

I just had a dream last night that I was walking along and I walked my face right into a spider web. I immediately fell to the ground. When I looked up, I could see that there were several giant spider webs surrounding me that were just a few feet away. It was like there was a tent of spider webs around me. Someone was on the outside, and I was screaming for help. That person didn't really know how to get rid of the spider webs. I told the person to grab a stick and to use the stick to go around the perimeter of the web to take it down.

Then I woke up.

Now that would make a super Superhero cape.

Oh, man, that is just beautiful. Who woulda thunk it.

Poly, you come up with the best posts!

Spiders are OK with me, usually, but there is a great big black widow by the horse feed in the barn, and I can't seem to whack the bugger when she's out. One of these days...POW!

Spider silk was used in the original Norden bombsight too.

Wasn't there a scifi story about a spider silk 'ladder' into space--something like the proposed space elevator?

That would be Hothouse by Brian Aldiss.

these interplanetary spiders were called traversers...

Teaching goats to make spider silk – genetically engineered to produce spider silk in their milk.

Well done, Dan.

I knew I wasn't loosing my mind!

*blushes* Thanks BlueHorse

An Epiphany

I have seen the Brown Recluse Spider
run with a net in her hand, or rather,
what resembled a net, what resembled
a hand. She ran down the gleaming white floor
of the bathtub, trailing a frail swirl
of hair, and in it the hull of a beetle
lay woven. The hair was my wife’s,
long and dark, a few loose strands, a curl
she might idly have turned on a finger,
she might idly have twisted, speaking to me,
and the legs of the beetle were broken.
--Ted Kooser

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 that 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.

I know lately Frost has been poo-pooed as a poet, but I still like him.

Popularity, well ... a fribble, another of our fleeting fads and fancies. Frost's work will doubtless survive his detractors.

i have just been reading
an advertisement of a certain
roach exterminator
the human race little knows
all the sadness it
causes in the insect world
i remember some weeks ago
meeting a middle aged spider
she was weeping
what is the trouble i asked
her it is these cursed
fly swatters she replied
they kill of all the flies
and my family and i are starving
to death it struck me as
so pathetic that i made
a little song about it
as follows to wit

twas an elderly mother spider
grown gaunt and fierce and gray
with her little ones crouched beside her
who wept as she sang this lay

curses on these here swatters
what kills off all the flies
for me and my little daughters
unless we eats we dies

swattin and swattin and swattin
tis little else you hear
and we ll soon be dead and forgotten
with the cost of living so dear

my husband he up and left me
lured off by a centipede
and he says as he bereft me
tis wrong but i ll get a feed

and me a working and working
scouring the streets for food
faithful and never shirking
doing the best i could

curses on these here swatters
what kills off all the flies
me and my poor little daughters
unless we eats we dies

only a withered spider
feeble and worn and old
and this is what
you do when you swat
you swatters cruel and cold

i will admit that some
of the insects do not lead
noble lives but is every
man s hand to be against them
yours for less justice
and more charity

--Don Marquis, "pity the poor spiders"

Come bees, let us step out.

Whotthehell, there's a dance left in the old dame yet!

*eyes the neat fetlocks of BlueHorse*


The Spider's Web

The spider, dropping down from twig,
Unfolds a plan of her devising,
A thin premeditated rig
To use in rising.

And all that journey down through space,
In cool descent and loyal hearted,
She spins a ladder to the place
From where she started.

Thus I, gone forth as spiders do
In spider's web a truth discerning,
Attach one silken thread to you
For my returning.
--E. B. White

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
Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my
--Walt Whitman

The Cool Web

Children are dumb to say how hot the day is,
How hot the scent is of the summer rose,
How dreadful the black wastes of evening sky,
How dreadful the tall soldiers drumming by,

But we have speech, to chill the angry day,
And speech, to dull the roses's cruel scent,
We spell away the overhanging night,
We spell away the soldiers and the fright.

There's a cool web of language winds us in,
Retreat from too much joy or too much fear:
We grow sea-green at last and coldly die
In brininess and volubility.

But if we let our tongues lose self-possession,
Throwing off language and its watery clasp
Before our death, instead of when death comes,
Facing the wide glare of the children's day,
Facing the rose, the dark sky and the drums,
We shall go mad, no doubt, and die that way.
--Robert Graves

The Embarrassing Episode of Little Miss Muffet

Little Miss Muffet discovered a tuffet,
(Which never occurred to the rest of us)
And, as 'twas a June day, and just about noonday,
She wanted to eat - like the rest of us:
Her diet was whey, and I hasten to say
It is wholesome and people grow fat on it.
The spot being lonely, the lady not only
Discovered the tuffet, but sat on it.

A rivulet gabbled beside her and babbled,
As rivulets always are thought to do,
And dragon flies sported around and cavorted,
As poets say dragon flies ought to do;
When, glancing aside for a moment, she spied
A horrible sight that brought fear to her,
A hideous spider was sitting beside her,
And most unavoidably near to her!

Albeit unsightly, this creature politely Said:
"Madam, I earnestly vow to you,
I'm penitent that I did not bring my hat.
I Should otherwise certainly bow to you."
Thought anxious to please, he was so ill at ease
That he lost all his sense of propriety,
And grew so inept that he clumsily stept
In her plate - which is barred in Society.

This curious error completed her terror;
She shuddered, and growing much paler, not
Only left tuffet, but dealt him a buffet
Which doubled him up in a sailor knot.
It should be explained that at this he was pained:
He cried: "I have vexed you, no doubt of it!
Your fists's like a truncheon." "You're still in my luncheon,"
Was all that she answered. "Get out of it!"

And the Moral is this: Be it madam or miss
To whom you have something to say,
You are only absurd when you get in the curd
But you're rude when you get in the whey.
--Guy Wetmore Carryl


*absurd all the time*

When spiders are prey and The Spider Awards to prime ye for Halloween.

Here's one a trifle old-fashioned in both presentation and diction:


I watch her in the corner there,
As restless, bold, and unafraid,
She slips and floats along the air
Till all her subtle house is made.

Her home, her bed, her daily food
All from that hidden store she draws;
She fashions it and knows it good
By instinct's strong and sacred laws.

No tenuous threads to weave her nest,
She seeks and gathers there or here;
But spins it from her faithful breast,
Renewing still, till leaves are sere.

Then, worn with toil and tired of life,
In vain her shining traps are set.
Her frost hath hushed the insect strife
And gilded flies her charm forget.

But swinging in the snares she spun,
She sways to every wintry wind:
Her joy, her toil, her errand done,
Her corse the sport of storms unkind.

Poor sister of the spinster clan!
I too from out my store within
My daily life and living plan,
My home, my rest, my pleasure spin.

I know thy heart when heartless hands
Sweep all that hard-earned web away:
Destroy its pearled and glittering bands,
And leave thee homeless by the way.

I know thy peace when all is done.
Each anchored thread, each tiny knot,
Soft shining in the autumn sun;
A sheltered, silent, tranquil lot.

I know what thou hast never known,
-Sad presage to a soul allowed;-
That not for life I spin, alone.
But day by day I spin my shroud.
--Rose Terry Cooke

Mr. BlueHorse often catches spiders in a jar and releases them outside. I tend to follow the lead of the fella in this poem if they're in my shower:

The Spying Spider
Don Tidwell

My bathtub is my haven
When I've had a busy day.
The soothing steamy water
Seems to soak my cares away.

Imagine my chagrin one night
When hiding from it all,
To see a big black spider
Clinging to the blue tile wall.

He ignored my keen displeasure
As he yo yo'd on his line---
He was practicing rapelling
And his technique seemed just fine.

I sensed that he was spying
On my privileged retreat....
That he thought my shiny earlobe
Might be something good to eat.

He crawled around his universe
Inspecting every tile,
Then climbed upon his special perch
To watch me for awhile.

We played the game of "chicken"..
I matched him stare for stare.
He suddenly got careless
When he thought I didn't care.

I snatched that interloper...
His chance to live was gone!!
I wrapped him in a tissue
And flushed him down the john!!

from attic to cellar
we have spiders
but most especially
in the older parts of the house

they like the kitchen
where the fruit flies gather
hovering above the compost
or the late-ripening fruits
along the windowsills

bathrooms too are popular
being water sources for the moths
and other venturesome critters
who come inside so there's not
a single room without its quota
of spiders and uninvited biota

Get excited – spider silk finally looks ready for commercialization

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