Spider’s Rigging ( Poem )

Spider’s Rigging


“I had resolved on a voyage around the world, and as the wind

on the morning of April 24, 1895 was fair, at noon I weighed

anchor, set sail, and filled away from Boston, where the Spray

had been moored snugly all winter. A thrilling pulse beat

high in me. My step was light on deck in the crisp air. I felt

there could be no turning back, and that I was engaging in an

adventure the meaning of which I thoroughly understood.”


I sat on the poop deck of ‘Joshua’ ,

a gaff-rigged replica of Slocam’s Spray

Built by Captain Bill Harpster

Reading these lines from Joshua Slocam’s

‘Circumnavigation of the Globe’.

Sunrise in the Salish Sea, on hook and reclining in a deck chair

I had nothing to do but look at the old tyme rigging

And codger up old salt sayings

Words evocative of the sailor’s sea

Mizzen-top-bowlines, cross-jack-braces,

peak halliards and spanker booms

Flying-jig-martingales, bull-ropes, marlinspikes,

belaying pins and bollards.

Dreamily I word wander in poetic mariner jargon .

I picture the whale ship ‘Pequod’, commanded by Captain Ahab,

While below deck still in his berth slumbers salty Captain Bill

One-legged like Ahab whose Moby Dick was his Vietnam War.

Then my eyes spot a dot in the rigging repaired by Bill yesterday

A fuzzy speckled spider is at work

It makes ‘mock’ speed spins between shrouds and ratlines

Of the rope rung ladder to the masthead.

At first I don’t see the rigging threads

Spinning from its’ spherical gut

But they must be there in air

Because the spider is moving purposefully in space

Heading geometrically between way points

Joining all to a centre where crocheted filaments

become emergent gold in the rising sun.

Did he have to learn it? Become an apprentice?

Will he step back and ask

Is that good enough?

Next she suddenly jumps forward and catches hold of a filament.

Not finished yet the sailor engineer hauls in some slack and

Fixes silk threads firmly to the rigging.

Next she goes to the centre of her galactic star

Opens a gland bottle of tar

Applies a coagulating, viscid fluid from the centre out

And makes a glittering sticky thread from centre to head.

Now it waits for the next flying steak

While I await for a slumbering Bill to awake.

About the author : Wally du Temple

Books written by Wally du Temple are sold by friesenpress.com where author information is available in English.