Arachne Spins

Arachne Spins

High in the Council Chamber
Arachne spins.
Unhurried, pulling slender threads in place
that glint and gleam when a wayward, early,
stabbing beam lights up
her shadowed space.

              Cold front approaches bringing threat of heavy snow
              Woolly jumpers yesterday
£10, today just 5 – Buy now
              Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat – order soon
              Seventy street-sleepers arrested in clampdown
              Glory Party spokesman twitters Belaboured Party members
                            ‘Come and join us; we’re all the same’

High up in the vaulted shadows of her place
Arachne spins.
Industrious, she tightens here, now there,
lightly moving always,
careful with every finely-fashioned string.

              Virulent new strain of plague identified
              Huge crowds expected for New Year shopping spree
              Teachers’, nurses’ 2% pay-rise denied
              Can you answer these 5 questions correctly? 75% will fail!
              7 die, 200 injured in hypermarket blaze

High above the halls where all our leaders
argue, lie, pretend and plead
Arachne spins.
Confident, adjusting each fine fairy thread
with ease.

              Arctic temperatures reach unprecedented highs
              All ladies’ lingerie marked down – buy your bras and panties now!
              Church leaders in sex scandal evade arraignment
              Here are 12 kinds of doughnut. You can only choose one
              Masked raiders storm bank, kill 3
              Huge losses forecast in financial field
              4 more Belaboured Party MPs to become Peers of the Realm

High above those hallowed halls
Arachne spins
She strengthens steadily her silken strands,
labours, silently attentive
to her task
while schoolboy chants and venomed jibes
with echoes ringing side to side criss-cross
the floor below.

              Bank of Inglund Chairman steps down amid accusations
              Get 2 extra pieces of Chocagogo free. – with this coupon
              Record lows for January. Blizzards cut off major rail and road routes
              Archbishop of Banterbury retires, citing ill-health
              Celebs sensational Muckingham Palace extravaganza enthralls TV millions
              Parliament meets in emergency session
              Vocabulary challenge. Write a word that begins with W and ends
                            with Y. Bet you can’t
              4 more species join endangered list

High above that ancient floor
Arachne spins.
Surely, nimbly, dexterously
enlarging her embroidery.
Below, between their troughs the pigs grunt to and fro.
cheap, dishonest hypocrites, their minds
confuse their mouthing with reality.

          Sea-levels rise drastically. Floods engulf south-east. Thousands stranded, drowned
          Crunchy, crackling Cerebix! New! Crisper! 5% more!
          Government steps in, props up huge MounteBank losses
          Furore as former convicted embezzler and rising star in Glory Party to be knighted
          Fantastic prizes! Give our nationwide competition a try! Win today!
          Police and Army 20% pay-rise approved
          Your favourite colour and the last thing you ate is the name of your pet
          Glories force controversial ‘Stop and Search’ Bill through
          Joint Police/Army roadblocks curtail traffic to west and north

High above them all in spectral dark
Arachne spins.
Extends her misty-thin creation into
one single, all-embracing silver ring.
They bicker incessantly below although they know
that all existence is in jeopardy. They scheme,
exacting coin from the selfsame fears of the nation’s families

              Cabinet hopelessly split. Ultimatum looms
              Severe travel restrictions imposed. Curfews in force nationwide
              Monarch abdicates, seeks asylum with European cousins-royal
              Stock Market tumbles.
              Internet communication curbed
              ‘Candy Love’ tops charts for 10th week running
              Minister of Defence reportedly says Welsh and Scottish regiments ‘still safely’
                            posted in Middle East
              Privatised Health Service collapses. Accused bosses abscond abroad
              Rumours of Regional Seat of Government established in north
              Smith excels in 7-goal thriller
             Food shortages hit all major cities. Rioting as thousands take to streets
              The first thing you see on your left is your only weapon against invading
                            space-aliens. What is it?
              Attempted Army coup thwarted. 6 Generals charged in secret court-martial
              Arson and looting widespread; law-enforcers powerless
              Minister’s armoured car fired upon, aides severely wounded
              Irregulars storm arsenal, seize heavy weaponry
              Fleeing Prime Minister apprehended, believed summarily executed by Midlands
                            para-military squad
           Internet down           Internet down           Internet down

High in utter darkness
Arachne spins.
Patient… weaves her covering curtain
and near complete.

              Their tedious squabbling is stilled. The fears of the people
              seized them, too. The last to leave looks up, searches
              with steely, probing eyes, as though suspecting that some doom
              had long been fashioned in the shadows high above…
              And the great oaken, iron-bound doors of that vast, vacated chamber
              clang and shudder shut. No echoes; none. Eerie, silent, all.

High up in her space
Arachne’s spinning stops awhile.
She meditates. She understands. Yes, only a little weaving’s needed now
to make this place, at last, presentable – a fit home for her young.

(From ‘Journeys in Time’)

Modelled on the conversations with The Black Dog in Branch Cabell’s 1934 novel Smirt.

                                            NADOLIG LLAWEN I BAWB!

                                          A HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

9 thoughts on “Arachne Spins

    1. Thanks, Viv! So glad you liked it, as it’s a very different one for me and I wasn’t sure about it. It’s a new one written over the past couple of days and was still being polished up when Ceri was posting it for me. I hope that others receive it well. Diolch yn fawr am y neges, a Nadolig Llawen i ti a’th teulu hefyd. xx


    1. Waw, that’s nice to hear! I was happy with it personally, but wasn’t sure as it’s different from my usual approach. Ie, Nadolig Llawen i ti ddwy.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Love the juxtaposition of the patient, omniscient, malevolent (dependent on the reader’s perspective) Arachne, with the frenetic power-grubbing stupidly and cupidity evident today.
    I don’t love the basic premise though! I remain optimistic that the large core of human decency and value structure remaining will enable a world fit for us and for Arachne and her offspring! Nadolig Llawen i chi gyd!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Romataff! To me, Arachne is more woman than spider, with a woman’s strength, sense, and sensibilities – and far above, in more than physical terms – what goes on below her. I’d like to share your optimism for our species. Diolch, a Nadolig Llawen i ti, hefyd!


  2. Love the juxtaposition of the patient, omniscient, malevolent (dependent on your viewpoint) Arachne and the frenetic power-grubbing stupidity and cupidity of our society, I remain optimistic, though, in the solid core of decency and value system of a sufficient core of mankind to believe in a future for us and Arachne and her offspring. Nadolig Llawen i chi gyd!


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