A Poem by Christopher Brent Lilly
In the Great Garden of Old Granger Farm, Near the Vast Wood, where all is calm,
Lived a young Spider all in Brown, Leading his Life without too much of a Sound.
Bartholomew Webb was his right given Name, But don’t ever think that a Spider is tame,
For all Day they capture many a Bug, Who come into their Parlour, and on the ‘Phone give a Tug.
One Day he was waiting for a Fly to come past, So that with glee he could well break his Fast,
The Spider, Eight Eyes, eight things at once watching, And eight little Legs to catch those who are dodging.
When suddenly there came a Holy Insect to him, The Right Reverend Praying Mantis, Good Pastor Tim.
One of few Six Leggers upon our whole Planet, To devour the Spider which never outran it.
Bartholomew scuttled as quickly as he could, Hoping to find some Space in the Wood,
To avoid the Creature who would swallow him whole, Because for such Slowness this is the Toll.
So then Bartholomew stumbled swiftly away, Hoping to live to spin another Day,
Our Young Master Webb, his Mind all a Flutter, Did over and over nervously Mutter :
" O, Great Raving Mantis, who prays all the Day, Says Grace for his Food, then flies away,
Why is it impossible for a Spider, you to eat, When for us other Insects are all such good Meat ?
You, who like us, even eat your Own Kind, Yet are so hard for us to Bind,
Is it revenge from God, Who also made Insects, That one of their Kind, their Predator Delects ?
When capturing Bees, we risk to get stung, Tie up Flies, who from our Nets are Hung.
Spiders trap most in their sticky, silken Webs, Like Butterflies and Moths, as Life Flows and Ebbs.
Why do You deny us, and of us make a Feast ? For an Insect, you are not like any such Beast.
I fear you, and run from your Saintly Grasp, Since if I spot you, I can only but Gasp !
I will avoid your presence to retain my own Life, ( Perhaps you should do likewise concerning your Wife. )
For, as you well know, once she has Eggs, She’ll grasp you anon and bite off not just your Legs.
That isn’t very nice, I do know that, too, But what do I care ? That’s Nature for You.
Just as it’s mine, most Insects to get, It is Your Nature to get me, on it my Life I will bet. "
So then our Spider went through the Trees, Seeking some Place where he could trap Bees.
Bartholomew Webb went every where, Eight little Eyes on a Beast almost without Fear.
He hoped for his Web to find a wee Cranny, Or hang from a Ceiling to frighten a Granny.
Now, Children, I know that you Spiders do fear, With eight creepy Legs, hairy as a Bear.
Those powerful Jaws, from which Venom does come, That leave the poor Fly all Giddy and Dumb.
The Cobwebs you may find strung over the way, Which the Spider doth spin all Night and all Day.
The Telephone he has, which of pure Silk has been made, Tells him Tea’s Ready, for the which he has Prayed.
Try not to muddle the Spider with Daddy Longlegs, Not all of them are Spidery, though some are Arachnids,
But the word itself means many a Creature, A lot of which can be Food for the Preacher.
Best then to look into a Book so True, Or even on the Web, but not the one made with Glue.
Tim is the Mantis, a Prophet so True, Which when he is big enough can eat a Spider or two.
He has two little Red Eyes, a Body of Green, and seems to be praying to Our Lord Unseen.
Yet fear not all those Spiders who each live a Life, Of keeping down Insects, else there’d be Strife,
With too many Bugs, getting in our way, None but Creepy Crawlies, all of the Day.
Live, And Let Live ; bother not the Web Spinner, Then he’ll keep off of you, and go capture his Dinner,
They even say stepping on one brings down the Rain, To bother poor Insy, a climbing the Drain.
When Robert the Bruce the English did fight, He espied a Spider, desperate in her Plight,
To construct a Web, and yet it got Broken, But the Spider kept going ; not a word was a Spoken.
The Scots from this did take the Advice, Not too give up, nor act like Burns’ later Mice,
Instead they kept on attacking their Foe, Winning the Day and keeping from Woe.
So then of this great and terrifying Kind, Of eight legged Beasties gets Barty his Mind,
To go off and weave his Web, somewhere away, From where the Mantis chased him this Day.
He finds some nice Place, up on a Tree, Between two Branches, from where he can See,
All over the Wood where the Animals dwell, That he wants to catch, and eat, as well.
And so now he Spins, a Web for to Make, To get him the Fly that comes from the Lake.
In One Day it’s done, a beautiful Net, Which should capture any Bug, to its profound Regret.
‘Tis silly, to the Spider’s Lair to have Trespassed, To enable that Arachnid to get at Last,
The Meal he has sought for all of the Time, Since that he was driven with the Mantis to rhyme.
Bartholomew sits down and waits for a Call, From the Silk thread that tells him all,
That there be an Insect in his Web a caught, For whom now almost all hope is Nought.
Suddenly it does Ring, but not like a Bell, That there is a Bite there, it Barty will tell.
So down there Bart goes, and then finds to his Joy, That there lies Pastor Tim, the naughty wee Boy.
The silly old Mantis has got himself caught, In Bartholomew’s Web, and yet then he ought,
To be quite able, himself to pull away, From the Sticky Strands which have caught him Today.
But, No, he is stuck, and can’t easily move, And quick as a flash Bart darts in to soothe,
The Mantis panicking in the Insectivore’s Trap, By sinking his Jaws into the Cardinal’s Cap.
But before he does so, he says gleefully,
" O, Sweet Revenge, that comes unto me, I have now caught the very Bane of my Race,
This Braying Mattress, in my dewy, white Lace.
Now it is I, the Spider, you see, Who shall be having Praying Mantis for Tea.
Fear not, O people, I do him a Favour, For would not his Lady even eat him for Flavour ? "
But whilst the Spider doth prate a long way, The Mantis does wiggle and jiggle, I say,
In utter Desperation, Timmy can only Flee, Yet then swears ne’er to bother the Bart of the Tree.
Bartholomew goes back to wait once again, This time for a Fly to come to his Den,
Which is really what he should eat in the Place, Of a Mantis or a Spider, both of a Cannibal Race.
Now to this very day the Spider gets Flies, Bees, Moths and others, with but Two Eyes,
And seeketh no more a Mantis to get, For it is not fly, Mummy Nature to upset.
Happy he would be, if none could get him, But the Good Lord Above sent down Pastor Tim,
And those of a type to put in their Place, The all eating Spider, who hides in a Space.
So such is the way of the World of Bugs, No, not the Bunny™, but Insects and Spiders, nor Slugs.
And it is a Hard Thing for the Spider to find, One who Preys on him and Prays in his Mind.
But please do not think that God hates the Spider, Just Little Miss Muffet does, and Bart can’t abide her.
God made us both of those wonderful Beasts, Spiders to take hold in kings's palaces, then make of most Buglets his Feasts.
And the Mantis to humble those things without Fear, Lizards, Spiders, Frogs, and even Rats with Hair,
So you cannot win ‘em all, however much you try, Maybe the Mantis gets the Spider, because the Spider gets the Fly.
Bartholomew Webb - photo courtesy of Wikipedia, copied then edited in Paintbox
Good Pastor Term - directly from Wikipedia
This poem is entirely my own invention and writing, although it does contain a veiled reference to the Warner Bros. Character Bugs Bunny, and to the Scottish Heroes King Robert I ( the Bruce ) and Robert Burns, as well as the Internet, although that was added when I re edited the poem around 2009. These are acknowledged as belonging either to History, or their own inventors or both, and not myself. The fact that Bartholomew Webb was also the name of a 17th Century English Organist is a complete and utter coincidence, as I was not aware of this at the time I first wrote the poem in 1993. In fact I only looked up the name just before publishing this Hub to make sure the name was not Copyright in any way, as if by coincidence anyone else might have made it up. I in fact chose the first name Bartholomew (name), as it means " son of furrows ", so it was a reference to the kind of farm or country land this spider would live in or near, and the surname Webb (surname) as a play on the word web.