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Spider's Rigging

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.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2016




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