In the 1952 award winning children’s story “Charlotte’s Web” by E. B. White Charlotte, the spider, writes “SOME PIG” in her web to save her friend Wilbur from the slaughterhouse. This poem imagines the activities of one of Charlotte’s great to the nth power grand-daughters. It uses urban metaphors of man-made objects to describe natural elements
Charlotte’s nth great grand-daughter,
Descends on skyscraper-steel strong thread,
To survey her dew-diamond billboard.
It reads “SOME ANT”.
She elevates back up to her house and waits.
Below, an escalator of ants swarm,
Up and down the knurled bark of her tree.
Flowers open their shuttered-stores of nectar.
A butterfly, dolled-up in seductive garb,
Stops to sample their Starbuck’s choice.
Close behind, a multitude of bees,
Each with briefcase sac to fill.
Charlotte turns to hear the helicopter-
Whir of wings as a blue-bottle flies
Straight into her waiting banner.
She smiles as she sits before her door,
And watches her dinner struggle.
Below, the ant garbage-cleaners of the forest
Busy in and out of secret brown earth,
Wait for her rejected morsels.
© October 2014, Jane Stansfeld
I don’t know Charlotte’s web but am inspired to check it out. This poem is beautifully executed. Love the modernistic urban imagery suited for an nth generation spider – I think this is competition material.
Hi Jane…I’ve been having a heckuva time trying to get this message to you, so I finally came here….here’s the message:
Hi Jane….both you and Christine …and God knows who else!! I was checking through my drafts of poems last night and mistakenly hit the “publish” button when I wanted the “preview”. That poem went sailing out there, and I reeled it back immediately because my usual posting day is not until tomorrow and that isn’t the poem I wanted…..I may post it, intentionally at some later time, and probably revised, so you can just ignore it, …or not. Thanks for letting me know, and sorry for the confusion. By the way, my book should be out next month, and you’re on my short list of complimentary copies…..to what address should I have it sent? You can email me at. firstname.lastname@example.org Cheers!
Charlotte’s Web was one of my favorites as a child, you have expanded; what fun. Though I like Ian’s further expansion.
I agree Ian’s expansion is clever. Yippee, for who am I to quarrel with hidden deeper meanings in my work!
Do I detect a much deeper meaning than ants and trees and bees and the rest? Corporate nets are advertising formats and we are caught in the web and our substance devoured.
Ian, I love your insightful uncovering of a deeper meaning although I confess that I am not so clever. It is face value fun! As always thank you for your visit and lovely comments.
What a hoot!! Disney has nothing on you, Jane! Wonderful casting of natural flora and fauna in urban tropes. CHARLOTTE’S WEB is one of my all-time favorite stories…..and whenever I come upon a spider I address her as “Charlotte,” no matter how nth the generation. Thanks for a most delightful read this afternoon!
I liked you comment ‘what a hoot’ as this one was a hoot to write. I agree about Charlotte’s Web – a beautiful little story which appeals to both the child and reading adult.