Monday, March 17, 2014


Her Web

Spirit of the ratio
one above and one below,
she takes figures in a script
that haunts the cryptic willow.

Spoken in the dialect
known to every architect,
her cathedrals made of string
hold the stirring circumspect.

The web, a clock stitched from will,
chronologs which hours to kill;
when she rests, it's just a clause
in her gauzy codicil.

And when readying her bed,
she feels a pulse down the thread
current through a living weave,
she pins her sleeve to the dead.



"Her Web" by Erin Belieu allow viewers to experience a day in the life of a spider. The spider referenced in the poem is a female, due to the title "Her Web" and several pronouns, she and her, used in the piece. The structure Belieu uses in her poem contains four sets of quatrains. Each with a unique rhythmic structure of rhyming lines one, two, and four.

Upon reading "Her Web" one calculates a reference to mathematical characteristics. Diction like, ratio, one, figures, cryptic, clock, chronologs, hours, pulse; all equal the outcome of achieving numbers. The poem's “she”, in line three, "takes figures in a script" as one might collect data for a document. This portrays how she, the spider, captures insects amidst her web.

A second thematic reference to a seamstress is also attached throughout Belieu's work. Word choice such as, string, stitched, gauzy, thread, weave, pin, sleeve; all lace together this idea of sewing.
The beginning lines of the poem do this very well. "Spirit of the ratio/one above and one below" is the process of inserting a needle into fabric to create a garment. This ratio shares similarity to how spiders spin their intricate webs.

Another point of interest to address is the shift of action that occurs within the pairs of stanzas. In the first two stanzas, lines one and two set-up the scenario while the action element is found in lines three and four. However, in the final two stanzas, the opposite action shift takes place. The event happens in the first and second lines while the third and fourth lines paint the scene.

Location plays a neat role in Belieu's poem. "Her Web" does not include a time reference, but informs the reader "that, her web, haunts the cryptic willow". The odd term codicil appears in stanza three with a similar role to location. A codicil is an addition or post-script, also known as an appendix to a will. Beginning at line eleven "when she rests, it's just a clause/in her gauzy codicil", has a unique literary reference. A clause is a portion of a sentence, a phrase, which makes up the structure, completing an idea. The location at which she rests "in her gauzy codicil" is just that. Most spiders
either remain idle in the center of their web or among a small appendix to the exterior of the web, or the sentence. Her gauzy codicil is a clause structuring a much larger sentence, her web.

A timely metaphor, found in line nine, develops a comparison of the web to a clock that ticks and tocks to the personification which I find to be the most outstanding line. Using freewill the seamstress has crafted her web, a clock, a killer. The spider is not the villain today, "The web, a clock/chronologs which hours to kill" is the assassin. I find amazement in this portion of Belieu's poem since the fact she uses the punctuation mark semi-colon. I envy the semi-colon and have yearning for its use; just as the clock, "chronologs which hours to kill;"

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