Squeaking at Spiders


A poem by Madhuri.

Spider by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen

We steamed over the glossy calm water
between the wee peaks
of red-lit islets in the early morning –
the ferry coming in to Folegandros.
Just a bare high ridge of rock
crouching like a rabbit on the sea

The wind blew all to bejeezus
night after night
and little April flowers grinned
on all the ground.

Daily we walked to the bus stop
for to go exploring
and yes, we found a pink marble canyon
going down to a shallow clear blue bay –
a naked, hidden place; for nakedness and sun and skin.
Yes, we hiked back up
that amazing rose defile
on broad steps of stone like they were made –
My Viking,
you brown as nut-butter
your light hair a beacon;
your light-house beam.

All these wonders were ours.

But what I want to remark on
(for it makes me smile)
was how, just before the bus-stop
going out, and just after it
coming home,
we’d pass a half-acre of cacti
tall and stout as grandmothers
with prickly chins,
fists on their hips –
And in among these prehistoric
fat round leafings
Great black spiders had stretched
their great black nets –
a dozen, a hundred of them –
And every time we passed
I would have forgotten the previous sighting
and so a spontaneous squeak came
up out of my body, all by itself,
suddenly –
A little shriek really –
free and full and complete
and sufficient unto itself –
Then ’twas over
and we walked on.

One day, my Viking, you said
flatly that you did not like these shrieks
and I should not make them.
I pondered long
what could be the matter,
but could not figure it.

Then, back in Poona,
I was helping in the Tantra group
in the School of Mysticism,
and one day, stripping a mattress
on which lovers had for days
faced each other with open eyes
unpeeling their own souls
to show them unadorned –
I lifted it, and found beneath
a lengthy, a mighty,
squashed quite flat and dead.
Again the shriek
leapt up by itself
a pleasant little commentary –
But Wadud said sharply
that he did not like
for me to make that sound.

Something’s up –
but what it is
I do not know.
…Do you?

Featured image by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash


Madhuri is a healer, artist, poet and author of several books, Mistakes on the Path being her latest memoir. madhurijewel.com

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