The smallest Spider
 
The smallest spider of the family
Sat high atop an olive tree.

Beneath her down upon the ground
Lay a marble, glass and round,
And within, a bright, green swirl!

So she said to herself, this arachnid girl
'A bead of glass, why how fantastic?'
And down she lept, alert, gymnastic,
To gaze with wonder at this sphere
That did enigmatically appear
In the grove where trinkets never were...

The spider scratched her bewildered fur
(For she had rolled in soft cheese,
That clung, mouldy to her knees.)

Then she realised, with a groan,
You can't play marbles on your own.
And besides, as irony drums:
You can't play without opposable thumbs.

Eight legs, she wailed
And I still failed
To make all
From this special ball.

She travelled away from her homely twig
To seek the friendship of a pig
As punishment for her patheticness
Her life, an unseemly mess.

She died, alas, alas, alone,
Many, many miles from home.
The child, too
(whose marble, new
He had lost from his bedroom shelf)
In grim despair, topped himself.









Author's Note:
The poem is translated from the Italian, in which it was first written, when I was asked to compose something for some people in Sicily to whom I own 'favours'. Its true beauty can only be appreciated by those who have witnessed the Sicilian way of playing marbles, which is to flick the small, earth-like ball across as great a distance as possible, and attempt to dislodge the teeth of the second player, or 'figlio della spiaggia'. (Son of a Beach). This game has been played for many years, often without a break, and is considered an acceptable means of negotiation and trade by the European Union.

By Alex the House   (About Alex the House)

© 2002 Alex the House (All rights reserved)

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