Agnes Bernelle, 1923-1999

There is no creature I love better than the spider
That makes her own centre every day
Catching brilliantly the light in autumn,

That judges the depth of the rosemary bush
And the slant of the sun on the brick wall
When she slings her veils and pinnacles.

She crouches on her knife edge, an ideogram combining
The word for tools with the word for discipline,
Read for a lifetime of cold rehearsals;

Her presence is the syllable on the white wall,
The hooked shadow. Her children are everywhere,
Her strands as long as the railway-line in the desert

That shines one instant and the next is doused in dust.
If she could only sing she would be perfect, but
In everything else she reminds me of you.

Eileen Ni Chiulleanian

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