A Lightness of Being

Dew Drops on a Spider's Web

Dew Drops on a Spider’s Web – Kay Stewart Photography

This spider’s web, covered with early morning dew – a natural miracle nearly invisible to the naked eye – was in the corner of a flower box on our deck. Kay, whose camera is always nosing around for the things we do not see, took this photograph. The poem was inspired by the smallness I felt – the beauty of smallness – seen in the magnificence if a spider’s web in morning light and in e. e. cummings’ poem “who are you, little i”.

“A Lightness of Being” – Gordon C. Stewart

who are you, little i, sitting above

the world so high (e. e. cummins)

on the high perch home

hammers and saws have made

on land filled and leveled by

bulldozers and gas-guzzling graders?

then i see it in the morning sun

the all-but-imperceptible home

spun from inside a spider self,

wet with drops strung like beads

so small, so delicate, so light

they leave the spider’s home intact,

a natural grace respecting strength

and weakness – a lightness of being

that does not crush or break

this hidden part – this most amazing part –

of a larger Web of life we barely see

16 thoughts on “A Lightness of Being

  1. Kay Stewart’s photograph is just glorious, and the poem you wrote in homage to both Cummings and Kay Stewart’s image is beautifully rendered.

    This line (and half of the next line) amazed me—

    a lightness of being that does not crush or break/this hidden part

    What a great, great, great way to begin Friday! Thank you, and thanks to Kay Stewart! Beautiful work, both of you!


      • Photographing spiderwebs is technically hard because at certain angles, they disappear entirely. Yet, K.S. managed to not only capture a spiderweb, but give it unexpected emotional substance. (!)

        I just went over to her blog and added her. I’m happy she’s blogging; I think she’ll find a good, strong community here and everywhere.

        One more thing— you did such a good job with utilizing the Cummings style here. Really and truly.


    • I love e.e. cummings – “Christ came down from his bare this year to where no….” He’s one of a kind. The “who are you little i” has stuck with me as a sidekick since I first read it. Each of us is a very little i in a whacky world that feeds the illusion of “BIG I”


  2. What a spectacular photo, and what a great poem. I guess I am starved for some e.e. cummings as well. We used to have a huge web by our front door- a monkey spider web, with a huge spider-mama residing in it, ever building it anew when it was bumped into, and laying her eggs, and populating our front deck with many little monkey spiders. We very much admired her web and her company. There is nothing more magical than a newly spun web. How do they do it?


    • Indeed. “How do they do it?” Did you know that NASA sent spiders into space as an experiment to see whether they would adapt without gravity. They DID, although they died in the mission. BAD mission. GOOD spiders!


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