Refusing to walk on your own
eight legs, you spin eerie silk air
balloons as thin as microchips,
your tethered webs of angel's hairs
a billowing net criss-crossing
waterlogged landscape to shelter.
Your armies of earth cousins throw
up their snag lines by the thousands,
some catching your threads. Others,
escaping tunnels to ground level, drown,
strands stretched to breaking point.
Naturally, you travel a mode faster
than walking, currents lifting spinning
orbs dense as the deep black velvet
skins of your trampolining bodies.
You float for a while before pulling
the cords of your three-sided parachutes.
© 2014 Maureen E. Doallas
This poem is a response to this past week's news articles about the "rain" of millions of spiders in Australia's Southern Tablelands. The spiders' linked webs produced a landscape that seemed to be covered in snow. The phenomenon observed is called "ballooning". It is truly a natural wonder. Read "The Science Behind Australia's Spooky Spider Rain" in The Washington Post, May 19, 2015. Articles also appeared in National Geographic magazine and The Oregonian, among other news and science publications.