Babette Deutsch


Hiding his golden abdomen, the Spider of the sky was at rest, 
Like an unmoved Mover, beyond the shafts of his web. 
Three separate spans ran to the river 
Spread below, smoothed, as by the Spider's craft. 
The threads caught upon silence 
As if, the spinnerets stanched, those waters ceased their flow. 
Like the hairs of a headless harp 
The golden, the silvered, hung, singing 
Quiescence. No bird in the branches. They were bare, 
Brown as the earth. Brown as a high cloud's brow that frowned 
Rosily beside blithe cheeks trumpeting. 
Where all was utterly still. 
The spans fanned out, three spokes of a tireless wheel 
That would go nowhere: unfinished forever. 
It would not roll toward evening, 
Nor turn toward winter. Yet the air was dusk, 
The sky cold. The Spider, hidden, 
Softly mantled himself in the heavens of Tiepolo.