Spider in the Dust

When you suddenly find you're an adult with choices to make and dreams to turn into ambitions, you can find yourself lured into other activities that lead you astray.....

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1. Spider in the Dust

 

    Spider in the Dust

 

   I walk down dark streets

   Interminably long, disappearing in the dust

   And the haze of a myriad of distant lights.

   Dust rises, lights dance and eyes water;

   And the road grows no shorter.

   Alley-ways stretching into nothing

   Save the squall of a cat

   And the rattle of a dustbin lid bowled by the wind

   Perform transcendental contortions

   And the road is the same,

  The same dust and the same unattainable lights

   Dancing in the dust.

 

   ''Come into my parlour'' said the spider,

   And in I crawl, into the web,

   Into the web of light and loud disorder,

   Dancing to imagined music,

   Laughing with imagined mirth.

   Round me all the threads are falling;

   Eagerly I snatch and drape them round me,

   Bind me to the light and loud disorder,

  And I dance and laugh with the milling throng

   As they prance across the floor.

   And all the time a voice within

  Struggling against the imagined din 

  Of synthetic music and laughter,

   And the laughter and music are hushed

   The threads crystalised and the glass smashed

   And the room is suddenly empty,

   Full of empty people.

 

   I return to the street,

   longer, darker than before,

   With spirit battered and illusions shattered,

   The lights more distant and the dust more thick.

   Blue-black buildings leaping to the starless sky

   Threaten to crush me to the dust,

   The blinding dust that rises with each step

   And dims the lights that ever call me,

   The ever distant unattainable lights

   That dance before me

   In the watery dust of my eyes

 

   ''Come into my parlour'' said the spider,

   And in I crawl, into the web,

   Into the web of dark attentive silence,

   Watching imagined images,

   Thinking imagined thoughts.

   Round me all the threads are falling;

   Eagerly I snatch and drape them round me

   Bind me to the dark attentive silence

   As I watch and think with the silent group

   As they match their brains against synthetic polymaths;

   And all the time a voice within

   Nagging with sharpness of a pin

   And the room is suddenly empty,

   Full of empty people.

 

   The dust is thicker now

   And my spirit is low.

   Along my street a million people hurry,

   Beneath my feet a million spiders scurry;

   I lift my foot and crush one,

   Grinding spider and dust to paste

   This one action, obliteration of the one temptation

   Removal of self-reproval

   Gives me the strength to raise my head

   And brings the blood back to the brain.

   The dark pavements down which I have been walking,

   With a muttering and a stuttering,

   Grinding and gnashing as cogs intermesh,

   And the pavements are moving the way I have come

   And my walking has taken me nowhere.

 

   So now I am running,

   Running down the dark and dusty road

   And the dust dissolves.

   I can see the people round me,

   The unseen beings of a tortured dream;

   And the haze dissolves

   I can see the lights before me,

   Unblurred by misty consciousness,

   And the lights merge into one 

   Into the sun,

   And the sun is rising.

   

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