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The Orb- and the Elfin-Weaver

(or The Elfin World of Spiderwebs in the Moss)

Spiderwebs sparkle when it rains

And looking down at the moss by her drains

The old golden spinster – the ordinary over-achiever

Sees a-sparkling, the work of the little elfin-weaver


It is nestled in the emerald moss

Dainty with its dewy gloss

It is a shining silver home

It is not gold, like the orb-weaver's own

But though silver is cold

Like days of rain of old

And orb-weavers hate such freezing things

They love the nostalgia that silver brings


For orb-weavers hold many memories in mind

Because they wait patiently on webs, crookedly lined

Remembering the memories, on most days

And they remember well how the elfin-weaver plays

Elfin-weavers play elfin tunes

Under the infinite shapes of their milky moons

On silver tin-whistles and fiddly-fiddles

And also, and often, tell spiky green riddles


"Why does moss grow on the dead?"

An elfin-weaver is rumoured to have said.

"The dead should have no life left with which to split;

And with old wet webs, a weaver shall struggle to knit..."

This riddle was asked of a weaver-hero from a fable

On a quest, down in the moss, when all his cards were on the table

But the golden orb-weaver finds herself confused

For she cannot recall the answer that the weaver-hero used


Faced with this blockage in her recollection

The old spinster needs for her mind a re-direction

Bemused, she sets about a-webbing

Repairing and expanding on her dewy golden bedding

When, at last, she has finished her spinning

And she looks back down through the twilight thinning

She sees the edge of her golden web

And the silver elfin sparkle that now begins to ebb


And though she cannot recall the answer in full

She believes she has remembered just a little of it all

For the answer is like the silver that is not gold

But is like gold, for the memories it holds of old

For a thing dead is not a thing lifeless

Just like elfin silver is not a thing timeless

It comes and goes with the rain, and the dew that it leaves

And it glows by its contrast with the green near its eaves


The dead gives life to moss like a remedy

Like remembering gives life to memory

Like past rain gives sparkle to webs of silver

And the elfin gives gold to the ordinary orb-weaver


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