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(A Gothic Story)
Odilon Redon's Eye-Balloon
In gross repose
atop a Rose
a Spider sat
quiet & pat

for centuries
holding that pose
in peace
with steel-clenched claws

like one in wait
to spring at once
on any date
which might drop by
to test her nerve:

"Such fools deserve"
(maybe She thought),
"to die!"

So startling--
Death personified
a mite that small
trembling there
to the call
of my slightest breath...

I had to pause
(and maybe long enough)
to catch The Close
of her deadly deed
--or bluff?

Hour upon hour
with stiff perseverance
I watched that flower
doing its dance
of hiding The Beast
(ready to feast
at Chance's behest)...

... hour upon hour...

Many a cow
with moving brow
brushed by the flower.

Nameless airs
quite unawares
caught up with her

Many a grub
or moth stumbling
on feet or flight
cut blindfully a close swath
near her appetite:

... Mite, Nit & Punkie,
Firebrat & Louse
& many a flunky Bug
tempt her souse...

O Katydid'd not
& Centipede's skid...

... th'gadfly's quote
& Earwig plead-ing
louder than Yellow Jacket
with his racket...

... or Wasp & Hornet
playing a mean cornet
to the swift kick of a Tick...

... and Butterfly's jerk
(past her lurk)...

... year after year...

While so severe
She held her Mood
ever yet still & stood:

... Spring's perfect fit,
Fall's tattered knit,
Summers so stale
& Winter's Hell...

... years in, years out...

... without a doubt
holding her wait
like fattening Fate
against The Whips
of Time's cruel quips...

... like One who knows
Reward's THAT close!

She never quit,
but, quite the opposite:
with greater self-control
stood firmer to Her Goal
& not even for hunger's sake
did She give in
& hook any th'tiniest bait
tempting her discipline:

"She's after Glory!"
I said, when some small fry
too paltry for the eye
perched on her head!

"Now THERE is Pride!"
to think it can abide
such tiny size
and, "God!" chastise...

"She just won't lurch!"
(to Aimless Search),
"to catch
likewise but equal prize!"

Yet, as I've said:
She had not fed
for such a time
I dropt a dime
down on her head
(and) it appears:

She HAD been dead
(perhaps: for years).

Now, normally
such Realization...
and a Poet moves on. But
(here) a cosmic
hesitation made me't postpone...

... as I gave thought
to Moods beyond Things
or sought...

There yet I stood:
staring that Mood
where I'd been at...

... quiet & pat
like One in wait
for Th'Genesis
of some Apocalypse...
late already for centuries...

I weathered
the endless snow
playing the Pantomime
of Time (held there like Law)...

... and the infinite heat
of Summer's pit
turning almost to ghosts
Life's boiling boasts,
whirling the World in sight
out of Th'Bounds of night...

(I don't believe
I would've flinched
even had I been pinched.)

But, "Why?! Because?"

Thus stood ALL as before...

... though now
somehow painting a pose
more of Interior
than Exterior, until...

... my limbs melted
to mud, my trunk turned
to a crumbling dust
& burned in Th'Cold whims
of a dry Image
(not false enough?
... or perhaps too true?)

... and the Spring returned.
Odilon Redon's Spirit of The Forest