Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Queen of My Heart

An orb weaver strung an impossible web between the sky and the wind, between two trees for the night. She’d done the radials when we first saw her and was working on the wheel. She had three or four lines dancing around the outside already. 
'Oh look, she’s got lots of babies!' I said.
But he replied that they weren't babies and he was right; she was capturing midgies, tiny black prey dotted around the outside of her new web.

I walked under the web to see it from the other side, up against the gunbarrel sky. I blundered into one of her main support struts and watched dismayed as the whole construction caved in on itself. The orb weaver frantically tried to restrain and rebuild the flailing threads of her home before the sun went down.

Oh come then and rove
To the seas or the grove,
When the moon is rising bright
And I'll whisper there
In the cool night air
What I dare not to - in broad daylight.

What do you do with a one who hands you candied sweets so laced with desire and carnage? And what was Percy Shelly really up to, while his wife was writing Frankenstein?

‘I’m weaning myself,’ I  said to my friend, in the days, weeks, before he sent me that poem. She was both impressed and  doubtful with my resolution. She knows me. She is a good friend.

Weaned? I must be hauled away by oxen and tied to a stake on a foreign beach, burned alive and my smoldering organs set out for the brindle dogs to fight over, before I would leave. Here lies a woman boarded by pirates, set alight and burned to the waterline, before she would be weaned.

I keep thinking about that spider. When I wandered into her web, I was both oblivious and hyper aware of the cornerstones that she had built, rebuilt and repaired. From the peppermint trees to the cobweb to where the rain fell on hot gravel, he and I walked away thoughtless and innocent, hand in hand like exiles from the garden.

Queen of my Heart
Percy Byshe Shelley.


  1. My black cat is named Bysshe...she is a bare faced assassin. As for P.B. I think he became obsessed with surfing.

    1. You are right Merc ... bare faced assassin, and I've fixed the spelling.

  2. And Mary Shelly wrote Frankenstein about 300 yards from where I write this irrelevance! I always sense that spiders are pissed-off when you blunder into their webs, but they just seem to get on with repairing them through gritted teeth.

    1. That is so cool Tom, about Mary Shelley I mean. I wonder what she would be up to if she were around these days?

    2. Same thing, I expect. They did a face-transplant the other week.

    3. Goddam those French face-biting Labradors.

  3. Thought provoking..... And yes, something I often struggle with. I have this image of humans and all manner of other creatures and forces blundering around on planet earth, causing havoc to others - sometimes knowingly, sometimes oblivious, and most difficult of all: sometimes knowingly but unable to not do it, even when they want so badly not to. Though he used to hammer the idea of self-awareness, my old guru would also say that in the end, we are not really responsible. We all seem to be involved in this thing, but we play a reluctant part in it often enough. My way of rationalising it is that we provide opportunities for others to evolve, as they do for us. But I still don't feel OK about killing birds when I'm driving my car, or destroying spider's nests when I'm cleaning my house.

  4. Mmm. While looking around for spider web words I came across experiments done on orb weavers - giving them caffeine or sending them into orbit (on Skylab of all things), to see how differently they built their webs. I guess that's taking blundering into webs to an extreme.

  5. Yes, that's just plain unnecessary. Indefensible.

  6. Also would you mind emailing me at melba_grrrl at yahoo dot com dot au ?

    Sorry for the poxy e address (if you email me there then I'll give you my normal email address) but I would love to give you links to my real name writer page, and discuss the issue of having an anon space versus or in addition to a real name space via email. Would also love to hear more about your book coming out?