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Famous Spider Poems

There are many famous spider poems that we are all familiar with. All poems are copyright to their authors. Here are some of them as well as some sent in by viewers that are not so well known.

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Here's the viewer's email about this interesting poem. All copyright is acknowledged.

Glen,
I think I have discovered the source on my arachnophobia. Attached are copies of a poem and a picture recently rediscovered in one of my late mother's poetry books; as a child I used to stare at this picture, and chill to the poem, for hours on end. The book is "Poems of a South African" by A Vine Hall, published 1943, the poem is "Spider and Wasp" . Picture Copyright: E J Detmold

Enjoy, Farrell

P.S. I already have a poem on your website under "Viewer's Poems"; "The Spider Strikes Again." While I wrote that years later in high school, the attached poem long forgotten, the eerie similarity shows how it had to have been in my subconscious.

From
Poems of a South African - Published 1943
SPIDER AND WASP
By A. Vine Hall

The wasp is careful to sting where it will paralyse and not kill the spider, that there may be fresh meat for the wasp-grubs when hatched.

A BIG black spider lived in a hole;
A terrible spider was he:
As big as your hand, and with hairy legs,
And a mouth as red as could be.

The beetles and flies at the sight of him fled,
And even the birds were afraid.
He had two great nippers, and eight wicked eyes;
How he ran ! and what leaps he made
I
and all who lived in the garden knew
That terrible spider's lair,
And told their little ones, under their breath:
' 0
never, 0 never go there! '

 Those who were naughty and disobeyed,
By their mothers would not have been known,
For the spider had sucked their juicy parts—
Sucked them as dry as a bone.

One day when he crept quite out of his hole,
To pounce on a passer-by,
Buzz, buzz, came a wasp: the spider's afraid—A spider afraid of a fly!

His poisoned nippers he opened wide,
And reared himself up to fight;
Round, round, and round, flew the wasp, then— down!
And stung him before he could bite.

He crumpled up, and was carried away,
And buried alive, to feed
The baby-wasps that were soon to be born.

—A story for bullies to heed.

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I don't know if you're interested, but here's another one that you can post, if you want to, by Emily Dickinson. It was published in 1891... so, it too, is in the public domain. Best, Tom P.

A Spider sewed at Night
Without a Light
Upon an Arc of White

If Ruff it was of Dame
Or Shroud of Gnome
Himself himself inform.

Of Immortality
His Strategy
Was Physiognomy.

Emily Dickinson

Glen, Stumbled on your site while en route to something else. You’ve don’t seem to have what is unquestionably the sweetest spider poem ever, Stu:

NATURAL HISTORY
E.B. White

The spider, dropping down from twig,
Unfolds a plan of her devising,
A thin premeditated rig
To use in rising.

And all that journey down through space,
In cool descent and loyal hearted,
She spins a ladder to the place
From where she started.

Thus I, gone forth as spiders do
In spider's web a truth discerning,
Attach one silken thread to you
For my returning.

Here is a spider poem by the famous poet, Emily Dickinson. It was published in 1896, so is in the public domain. Tom P.
 

The Spider as an Artist
Has never been employed --
Though his surpassing Merit
Is freely certified

By every Broom and Bridget
Throughout a Christian Land --
Neglected Son of Genius
I take thee by the Hand --

Emily Dickinson

 
 

 

PITY THE POOR SPIDERS
By Don Marquis, in "archy amd mehitabel," 1927


i have just been reading
an advertisement of a certain
roach exterminator
the human race little knows
all the sadness it
causes in the insect world
i remember some weeks ago
meeting a middle aged spider
she was weeping
what is the trouble i asked
her it is these cursed
fly swatters she replied
they kill of all the flies
and my family and i are starving
to death it struck me as
so pathetic that i made
a little song about it
as follows to wit

twas an elderly mother spider
grown gaunt and fierce and gray
with her little ones crouched beside her
who wept as she sang this lay

curses on these here swatters
what kills off all the flies
for me and my little daughters
unless we eats we dies

swattin and swattin and swattin
tis little else you hear
and we ll soon be dead and forgotten
with the cost of living so dear

my husband he up and left me
lured off by a centipede
and he says as he bereft me
tis wrong but i ll get a feed

and me a working and working
scouring the streets for food
faithful and never shirking
doing the best i could

curses on these here swatters
what kills off all the flies
me and my poor little daughters
unless we eats we dies

only a withered spider
feeble and worn and old
and this is what
you do when you swat
you swatters cruel and cold

i will admit that some
of the insects do not lead
noble lives but is every
man s hand to be against them
yours for less justice
and more charity

archy

THE REDBACK ON THE TOILET SEAT
by Slim Newton

There was a redback on the toilet seat
When I was there last night.
I didn't see him in the dark,
But boy I felt his bite.

I jumped high up into the air
And when I hit the ground,
That crafty redback spider
Wasn't nowhere to be found.

I rushed into the missus,
Told her just where I'd been bit.
She grabbed a cut-throat razor-blade
And I nearly took a fit.

I said, "Just forget what's on your mind
And call a doctor please,
'Cause I got a feeling that your cure
Is worse than the disease."

There was a redback on the toilet seat
When I was there last night.
I didn't see him in the dark,
But boy I felt his bite.

And now I'm here in hospital
A sad and sorry sight,
And I curse the redback spider
On the toilet seat last night.

I can't lie down, I can't sit up
And I don't know what to do,
And all the nurses think it's funny
But that's not my point of view.

I tell you its embarassing,
And that's to say the least,
That I'm too sick to eat a bit
While that spider had a feast.

And when I get back home again
I tell you what I'll do,
I'll make that redback suffer
For the pain I'm going through.

I've had so many needles
That I'm looking like a sieve,
And I promise you that spider
Hasn't very long to live.

There was a redback on the toilet seat
When I was there last night.
I didn't see him in the dark,
But boy I felt his bite.

But now I'm here in hospital
A sad and sorry sight,
And I curse the redback spider
On the toilet seat last night.

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INCY WINCY SPIDER

Incy Wincy spider went up the water spout,
Down came the rain and washed the spider out,
Out came the sun, and dried up all the rain,
And Incy Wincy spider climbed up the spout again.

LITTLE MISS MUFFET

Little Miss Muffet,
Sat on her tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey,
Along came a spider
And sat down beside her,
And frightened Miss Muffet away.

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THE SPIDER BY THE GWYDER

By the sluggish river Gwyder lived a wicked red-back spider
And he was just as vicious as could be
And the place that he was camped in, was a rusty Jones's jam tin,
In the paddock by the showgrounds at Moree.

Near him lay a shearer snoozing, he'd been on the beer and boozing,
All the night before and all the day,
And the kooking of the kookers and the noisy showground spruikers,
Failed to raise him from the trance in which he lay.

When a crafty looking spieler with a dainty looking sheila,
Came along collecting wood to make a fire,
Said the spieler, "There's a boozer, and he's going to be a loser,
If he isn't, you can christen me liar.

Wriggle round a keep nit honey, while I pan the mug for money,
And we'll have some little luxuries for tea."
But she answered, "Don't be silly, you go back and boil the billy,
You can safely leave the mug to little me."

She circled ever nearer, till she reached the dopey shearer,
With his pockets bulging, fast asleep and snug,
But she didn't see the spider that was lurking there beside her,
For her mind was on the money and the mug.

Now the spider wanted dinner, he was daily growing thinner,
He'd been fasting, was as hollow as an urn,
She eyed the bulging pocket, he just darted like a rocket,
And bit the sheila on the stern.

Like a flash she raced off squealing, and her clothes began unpeeling,
While to hear her yell would make you feel folorn,
On the bite one hand was pressing, while the other was undressing,
And she reached the camp the same as she was born.

The shearer pale and haggard woke, and back to town he staggered,
He caught the train and gave the booze a rest,
But he'll never know a spider that was camping at the Gwyder,
Had saved him sixty-seven of the best.

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THE SPIDER AND THE FLY

'Will you walk into my parlour?' said the Spider to the Fly,
''Tis the prettiest parlour that ever did you spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show when you are there.'
'Oh no, no,' said the little Fly, 'to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again.'

'I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?' said the Spider to the Fly.
'There are pretty curtains drawn around, the sheets are fine and thin;
And if you like to rest awhile, I'll snugly tuck you in!'
'Oh no, no,' said the little Fly, 'for I've often heard it said,
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!'

Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, 'Dear friend, what can I do,
To prove the warm affection I've always felt for you?
I have within my pantry good store of all that's nice;
I'm sure you're very welcome--will you please to take a slice?'
'Oh no, no,' said the little Fly, 'kind sir, that cannot be,
I've heard what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see.'

'Sweet creature,' said the Spider, 'you're witty and you're wise;
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I have a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf,
If you'll step in a moment, dear, you shall behold yourself.'
'I thank you, gentle sir,' she said, 'for what you're pleased to say,
And bidding you good morning now, I'll call another day.'

The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again;
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready, to dine upon the Fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing:
'Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple--there's a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead.'

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue;
Thinking only of her crested head--poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlour--but she ne'er came out again!

And now, dear little children who may this story read,
To idle, silly, flattering words, I pray you ne'er give heed:
Unto an evil counselor close heart, and ear, and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale of the Spider and the Fly.

by Mary Howitt

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