Sunday, February 14, 2021

Timid Tarantulas

I know, I know. Scorpions have tarantulas for breakfast. I'm not doing natural history. I'm writing poems.

Tarantulas, Tarantulas 

Tarantulas are very strange creatures.
Each step they take is tentative and slow.
This is one of their defining features.
You'd never think them spiders on the go.

Expect them not to dance tarantellas.
These two words are bound tight in irony.
They're more like a couple of goodfellas.
You stick with one, you better stick with zee.

Makes little sense, some rhyme, but no reason? It's all in good fun, eh? And read correctly, it also has some reason. In the rhyme.


At 2:24 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

Check Poe's short story "The Gold Bug." It begins with an epigraph about tarantulas. Interestingly enough, while the tarantula epigraph has a direct connection to the story's theme, applying the epigraph to the story's moral meaning and plot is problematic at every level. I suspect, therefore, that these problematics are central to the ambivalent ethos of the tale, and therefore I wonder if Poe was in fact anticipating every possible hermeneutic that future critics might offer to explain the story--maybe?

At 7:15 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

That's a lot to think about. I've read the story more than twice in my life, but I still can't remember the thing . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:39 PM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

When I was a kid, I owned four different tarantulas. They can indeed move around slowly, but when they're hungry, they're scarily fast. Tarantulas also have distinct temperaments. I started off with an orange-kneed tarantula, often described as "friendly" by certain pet owners because it has much less of a tendency to bite, and it will allow you to place it on your body, where it will crawl around and use you as a playground, often settling onto your head because your skull is so warm.

My second tarantula was all black, very old (it had its "mating hooks," which are a sign of age), and extremely irascible. It would flash its fangs every time I tried to pick it up, so I eventually gave up. This spider hated sitting in the terrarium; one night, it escaped and wasn't found for three days, during which time my entire family was paranoid about finding it hiding under the covers.

I eventually found the black spider hiding in the bathroom; I was on the toilet when I saw the spider after pushing the bathroom door closed. I yelled for Mom; she bravely came into the bathroom with a huge metal pot and a wooden spoon. Overcoming her fear of the little beast, she shooed it into the pot, took it back to its terrarium, dumped it inside, then shut the wire-screen top and placed heavy objects on it to make sure the spider wouldn't escape again. It never did, and it died of old age a couple months later.

One of the most striking things you'll ever see is a tarantula when it's molting. The process is slow and morbidly fascinating; by the end, you'll think there are two spiders in the terrarium. Creepy. Otherwise, hungry tarantulas are amusing for kids who like to watch one-sided gladiatorial combat between arthropods. During my tarantula phase, I would regularly visit the grassy land next to a nearby creek to catch crickets and grasshoppers. I once caught a massive, green katydid and tossed that into the spider's den. The tarantula made short work of it, bending the insect's body in half with the crush of its large fangs.

Ah, memories.

At 4:08 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...


Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:03 PM, Blogger Kevin Kim said...

Here's a time-lapse video of a tarantula molting.


At 8:59 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...


Jeffery Hodges

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