Image of shelter


Industry Observed in Nature
by an Idle-Feeling Vacationer

Camp Windsor Hill, Rangeley Lake, Maine

All over the lake house
filaments billow and flutter:
from posts on the porch,
in the corners of every room,
on the legs of tables and chairs.

Invisible, mostly, except
for what they snag -- a gnat,
a moth's wing, a blade
of grass blown in through
the kitchen door. Stand up

at the end of a chapter
or meal and fresh strands
catch at the nose, the ear
(a faint annoyance, like
a prick of the conscience).

No vacations for them, no days
off -- spiders too small to see
climb each windowsill, beam,
bannister and post, spinning
and spinning, scurrying

across expanses of floor,
pausing on doorjambs and rafters
to reconnoitre, then spinning
again, an endless thread,
durable, until each breeze

waves a thousand pennants --
pale silken banners that
lay claim to our house
long after their makers
have returned to dust.

July, 2000

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