In this sepia scene
of late-winter twigs and matted leaves
I found the small tattered orb she had built that lasted the winter,
this tiny creature no larger than a grain of sand
now curled in the center, her spirit long
gone from her desiccated body,
yet her tiny children,
awakened by a warming spring sun,
will emerge from all the crevices
in the plant she chose as their birthplace
and find that her final creation
helps provide their first meal,
delicate strands catch the earliest gnats,
though these too be
the children of other mothers
full of hope for the generation of children
they will never meet;
and so the returning songbirds will catch
the tiny spiders as they leave their web of safety
and find sustenance to begin their families
all life toiling through the year to grow and thrive
to prepare for the dark of winter
and to come, again, in spring.
Poem To Come Again in Spring © 2011 B.E. Kazmarski
As the spring unfolds with longer days and milder temperatures, we remember what has passed.
It was the tiny spider in the delicate, worn web that inspired this slideshow from 2009 and poem from 2011.
Each year I leave the plants in my garden standing for the birds, insects and other residents of my garden to use for winter accommodations. In spring of 2009 I began preparing the garden section by section and happened to see this spider and her delicate web outlined in the spring sunshine. She had died long before but continued to cling there all winter long, and her web held up against any number of storms.
Her eggs would have been laid on the stem adjacent to her web which would catch the first insects in spring, and when they hatched the little spiders could have their first meal of the insects caught in the web and use her web as a launching pad. I found it so moving that on that bright early March afternoon I went through my garden looking for other such images.
All the other native plants had left behind their skeletons, and the effect of these was haunting, like finding a ghost town or an unknown world.
I had to let them say their last goodbye. I photographed each desolate construction with attention to extreme details you might never notice to show the intrinsic, transient beauty of these empty shells. The sepia tones are the natural coloring of the plants in the stark spring sunlight, that interim color palette between the blues of winter and the greens of spring. Here is a link to the original slideshow of photos taken that day; when you view it, you’ll see that many of the plants I’ve photographed are criss-crossed with tattered little webs.
I read this poem at my 2011 poetry reading at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, but did not set up a web page for that reading, and it is not included in my poetry book.
In 2017 I found another inspiration in these “Winter Leftovers”: What Stays With Us.