Restored

 

fillspider

I saw you there the night before,
a leggy black pearl against
the glossy white tub,
and made a note:

Spider. Remove before showering.

And the next morning remembered
too late,
and bore your sodden body to
the sunny deck rail where I
had meant to leave you, alive.

And lay you there gently, lifted
and lay you again,
shedding the water, and
once more, carefully.
Extended the fine filaments
of your eight legs, blew softly
on your corpse with sorry breath

that could not stir movement in the damp
mound of your perfect drowned body,
the book lungs and tracheal tubes
swamped and still.

And went back inside for a time,
wishing it otherwise, the day
barely underway and already
a hundred small wonders
dead all around, dead of
carelessness or meanness,
dead of forgetfulness.

Then wished to see you once more, even
lifeless on the rail,

where instead you now stood,
poised on segmented limbs,
your dry, risen body
shining in the sun,
your eight eyes again open
to the immense world,
your small pedipalps circling your hungry mouth,

and then walked away, restored, before I could ask:

Was there a white light?
Did you see them?
Did they greet you, ancient and familiar?
The mother who guarded your egg sac,
silken and tough, the siblings who
ballooned on gossamer into perilous air —
the ones who died before you, taken

by animals or
elements, by
indifference or cruelty,
by karma or kismet.

Did they fix you with
a thousand happy gazes, wave
their many legs in recognition, in
jubilation, welcoming you home, home
from a life where every moment a hundred
small wonders die, unseen and unmourned?

And in all their rejoicing, were they half
as glad, half as glad as I —
to feel one needless harm undone,
to watch the leggy black
pearl of your body walking
back into the world?

spider one

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31 comments

  1. caring gesture(s) 🙂

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    1. Thanks, David.

      Like

  2. Paging Mrs Zen · · Reply

    Incredible writing. I ve started saving bees from pools. I hope I can overcome my intense fear of spiders and respect their right to live too. We all struggle. All creatures great and small.

    Like

    1. Indeed we do. My fear of spiders — really, more an organic terror — became manageable only after many years of observing beautiful orb-weavers (and remembering Charlotte :)). Thank you for reading and responding — and for saving the bees.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. To follow this:
    “… the day
    barely underway and already
    a hundred small wonders
    dead all around, dead of
    carelessness or meanness,
    dead of forgetfulness.”

    with this:
    “…were they half
    as glad, half as glad as I —”

    To know that our efforts are not meaningless and that compassion has a place in this world.

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    1. Indeed. Thank you for reading and observing so carefully.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Love this. Sadly none of the spiders I have accidentally drowned have survived and walked away…

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    1. I think sometimes they come back, so to speak, out of our view, so maybe some of “yours” have indeed resurrected. Their respiratory systems are not as straightforward as ours; they breathe through various channels. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Never thought a poem about a spider coming back to life could be so beautifully written. And I never thought I would feel sad for one — a little leggy black pearl. I won’t look at spiders the same way ever again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a marvelous appreciation. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Love this, Lee. Just love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry. This came to me through Lee Dunn at Are My Feet Off the Ground! I do love it.

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      1. I’m very glad. Thank you, and thanks to Lee for re-blogging it!

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    1. Indeed! 🙂 Thank you for reading (and rejoicing).

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderful!

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    1. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, wow, wow. This is one to be read and reread over time. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Such a lovely compliment. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on AreMyFeetOffTheGround and commented:
    “In this beautiful poem, Cate Terwilliger writes about regret and life and death and spiders and, uh, you just need to read it.” – Quote from Robert Okaji

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lee! I so appreciate that you read and shared this poem.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Reblogged this on O at the Edges and commented:
    In this beautiful poem, Cate Terwilliger writes about regret and life and death and spiders and, uh, you just need to read it.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. How uplifting! This brought a smile to my morning.

    Like

    1. I’m glad. There can never be too many happy endings. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Marvelous poetry, Cate! We live in a buggy climate and have returned many invading insects to the wild.

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    1. Very glad to hear it. Thank you for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow, this is a very beautiful poem, so well written and touching. Loved it!

    Like

    1. Thanks so much!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome.

        Liked by 1 person

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