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The Spider on my Copy of The Origin of Species

I swat the little creature with an idle hand.
It’s hard enough, God knows (He does?), to understand
the patient man’s great temple-shaking argument —
its beauteous intricacies equivalent
to those he found in barnacles or in sweet peas,
in growth of coral reefs, the work of worker bees —
without distractions to my barely-coping brain.
Where was I? Concentrate. But here it is again!
I’ve read one paragraph, on pigeons; in that time,
by downward abseil and retracing upward climb,
it’s back where first it suffered the mysterious blow,
its travelling as rapid as my reading’s slow,
and goes about its lawful business, unafraid.
Well, let it be, and serve as living visual aid.
Spin out your steel, my murderer; ensnare your prey.
This book’s an iron Bible you and I obey.

Audio file

Listen to this poem — read by the author