Poem of the Week: The Spider and the Ghost of the Fly

By Vachel Lindsay

Once I loved a spider
When I was born a fly,
A velvet-footed spider
With a gown of rainbow-dye.
She ate my wings and gloated.
She bound me with a hair.
She drove me to her parlor
Above her winding stair.
To educate young spiders
She took me all apart.
My ghost came back to haunt her.
I saw her eat my heart.

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Poem of the Week: Seal Lullaby

By Rudyard Kipling

Oh! hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us
And black are the waters that sparkled so green.
The moon, o’er the combers, looks downward to find us
At rest in the hollows that rustle between.
Where billow meets billow, there soft by the pillow.
Oh, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!
The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake thee
Asleep in the storm of slow-swinging seas.

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Poem of the Week: Two Old Crows

By Vachel Lindsay

Two old crows sat on a fence rail.
Two old crows sat on a fence rail,
Thinking of effect and cause,
Of weeds and flowers,
And nature’s laws.
One of them muttered, one of them stuttered,
One of them stuttered, one of them muttered.
Each of them thought far more than he uttered.
One crow asked the other crow a riddle.
One crow asked the other crow a riddle:
The muttering crow
Asked the stuttering crow,
“Why does a bee have a sword to his fiddle?
Why does a bee have a sword to his fiddle?”
“Bee-cause,” said the other crow,
“Bee-cause,
B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B-cause.”

Just then a bee flew close to their rail:—
“Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz             zzzzzzzzz             zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ZZZZZZZZ.”
And those two black crows
Turned pale,
And away those crows did sail.
Why?
B B B B B B B B B B B B B B B-cause.
B B…

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Folklore & Nature: The Death Flower

Death, loss, separation and abandonment – the many symbolisms of one flower

The story of the red spider lily begins with a beautiful autumnal scene in late September during the Buddhist holiday of Ohigan. It’s this period of time just before the autumn equinox, that has given rise to one of the most fascinating folklores of any flower in the world. In Japan, Ohigan is a time to return home to visit graves and pay respects to ancestors. It also happens to coincide with the brief flowering time of the red spider lily (Lycoris radiata), which unusually blooms in the autumn. Because of the flower’s association with Ohigan (お彼岸) and the autumnal equinox (彼岸), it’s known in Japanese as Higanbana (彼岸花).

Spider Lily by Kawarazaki Shodo

The…

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Poem of the Week: Upon The Hearth The Fire Is Red

By J. R. R. Tolkien

Upon the hearth the fire is red,
Beneath the roof there is a bed;
But not yet weary are our feet,
Still round the corner we may meet
A sudden tree or standing stone
That none have seen but we alone.
Tree and flower and leaf and grass,
Let them pass! Let them pass!
Hill and water under sky,
Pass them by! Pass them by!
 
Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate,
And though we pass them by today,
Tomorrow we may come this way
And take the hidden paths that run
Towards the Moon or to the Sun.
Apple, thorn, and nut and sloe,
Let them go! Let them go!
Sand and stone and pool and dell,
Fare you well! Fare you well!
 
Home is behind, the world ahead,
And there are many paths to tread
Through shadows to the edge of night,
Until the stars are all alight.
Then world behind and home ahead,
We’ll…

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Poem of the Week: The Lake Isle of Innisfree

Once in a while you encounter something that for unknown reasons, burrows deeply into you. This happened to me over a decade ago in Dublin. I visited an exhibit about William Butler Yeats at the National Library of Ireland. I had never read any of this poems before and walked through the displays with interest. But it was the moment I stood in the middle of a circular display that burrowed into me. Yeats read one of his poems over speakers, a disembodied voice traveling from the past and into my ears. His voice was haunting and I’d heard nothing like it before, or since. The words were lost to me over time, but his voice was not and I still hear it when I read his poems today. Because of that experience I’ve now read many of his poems as well as his books on Irish…

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