Learn More

Robert Lowell

(1917 - 1977 / Boston / United States)

Mr. Edwards and the Spider


I saw the spiders marching through the air,
Swimming from tree to tree that mildewed day
In latter August when the hay
Came creaking to the barn. But where
The wind is westerly,
Where gnarled November makes the spiders fly
Into the apparitions of the sky,
They purpose nothing but their ease and die
Urgently beating east to sunrise and the sea;

What are we in the hands of the great God?
It was in vain you set up thorn and briar
In battle array against the fire
And treason crackling in your blood;
For the wild thorns grow tame
And will do nothing to oppose the flame;
Your lacerations tell the losing game
You play against a sickness past your cure.
How will the hands be strong? How will the heart endure?

A very little thing, a little worm,
Or hourglass-blazoned spider, it is said,
Can kill a tiger. Will the dead
Hold up his mirror and affirm
To the four winds the smell
And flash of his authority? It’s well
If God who holds you to the pit of hell,
Much as one holds a spider, will destroy,
Baffle and dissipate your soul. As a small boy

On Windsor Marsh, I saw the spider die
When thrown into the bowels of fierce fire:
There’s no long struggle, no desire
To get up on its feet and fly
It stretches out its feet
And dies. This is the sinner’s last retreat;
Yes, and no strength exerted on the heat
Then sinews the abolished will, when sick
And full of burning, it will whistle on a brick.

But who can plumb the sinking of that soul?
Josiah Hawley, picture yourself cast
Into a brick-kiln where the blast
Fans your quick vitals to a coal—
If measured by a glass,
How long would it seem burning! Let there pass
A minute, ten, ten trillion; but the blaze
Is infinite, eternal: this is death,
To die and know it. This is the Black Widow, death.

Submitted: Thursday, April 08, 2010

Do you like this poem?
1 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Mr. Edwards and the Spider by Robert Lowell )

Enter the verification code :

  • Rookie - 58 Points Brian Jani (7/14/2014 3:57:00 AM)

    this is amazing poetry my friend well written and its straight to the point (Report) Reply

Read all 1 comments »

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Bitter, bitter..., Lev Brekhman
  2. Sky graffiti, Lev Brekhman
  3. 'Drop in the Bucket', Mae AC.
  4. My friend, Lev Brekhman
  5. After the crash. anywhich, Lev Brekhman
  6. Pie in the sky, Lev Brekhman
  7. Life, Lev Brekhman
  8. Yikes, Mae AC.
  9. Disclaimer, douglas scotney
  10. Future, Ray Nicholson

Poem of the Day

poet Katharine Lee Bates

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
...... Read complete »

   

Member Poem

Trending Poems

  1. 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
  2. Nothing Gold Can Stay, Robert Frost
  3. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  4. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  5. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  6. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
  7. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  8. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  9. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  10. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]