The Spinner

Among the bony limbs of shrubs,
with their cowled and wrinkled blooms,
between the heavy hips
and the fevered faces of the haws,
above the ribs of an old machine
flaking into rust,
a spinner hovered in his mist-fine home,
gently sucking juices from a cradled form.
As I bent, he looked at me and said:

I made the charm of rainbows
and the distant stars,
I cast my nets in Galilee and drew forth men
whose souls were winged like angels
and the soft-fleshed flies.
Such were my companions for a while,
until I went to Death’s concealing house,
so strangely shaped,
and found I liked it there.
Today, I will climb that tree a little to your right,
to a nest of fledglings on the topmost branch
and permit myself to be devoured
by innocence, so vicious and so pure.

When he’d gone,
I saw that the little habitation he had made,
spun perfect as a snowflake in his mind,
was deformed by the things that it depended on,
so that the marvel of its design
became wayward and unbalanced.
And I thought of him reaching the nest up there,
to discover that the baby birds
had lost their innocence long ago
and flown into summer and its concerns.
And I wondered if he would return,
or disappointed go elsewhere,
to a world where love still has its wings,
the innocents he seems to need,
and the soft-souled ones he dies for.