Monday, October 31, 2011
(Untitled, textile by Louise Bourgeois, 1911-2010, American
sculptor and artist, known as The Spider Woman for her
large spider structures and web-like images)
“Once you begin watching spiders,” E. B. White said, “you haven’t time for much else.”
White is the author of the classic children’s novel Charlotte’s Web, the tale of a life-and-death drama that unfolds in a barn on Mr. and Mrs. Arable’s farm. The heroine, Charlotte, is a barn spider, a. k. a. Araneus cavaticus.
In 1929, a few weeks of weeks after his wedding to Katherine Angell, White sent the following poem to his bride from the King Edward Hotel in Toronto. (It is a well-established fact that most women don’t like spiders. But everything worked out fine; they remained married for almost fifty years.)
The spider, dropping down from twig,
Unwinds a thread of his devising;
A thin, premeditated rig
To use in rising.
And all the journey down through space,
In cool descent, and loyal-hearted,
He builds a ladder to the place
From which he started.
Thus I, gone forth, as spiders do,
In spider's web a truth discerning,
Attach one silken strand to you
For my returning.
~ E. B. White (1899-1985), American novelist and writer, and co-author, with William Strunk, Jr., of the best guide to writing good prose, The Elements of Style, better known as Strunk & White