The Poetry of
Jack Scott

The Spider Artist

Master muralist,
almost up but tiring
on the concave underside
of ornate ancient dome,
a high and cracking Capitol,
in need of paint and care,
needs some solid place
to hook his bosun’s chair.

No solid timber anywhere
to hold a lag or nail.
He needs to rest,
but doesn’t dare;
a pause, however brief,
would most likely lead to grief
His plight injects adrenaline,
demands tenacity,
implores the muscles
not to yield
to giving out,
giving into
dropping to the growing floor below.

Desperation calls for quorum
of the powers that be :
the laws of physics and
his personal capacity.
“I invoke this empty Senate
before it votes my fate for me,
to let me rest as spider rests:
lightly, gently, easily, . . .

To save my life I leave it,
clear my mind and body of it ,
transform it into something finer,
condense it to my purest essence,
mold it into sticky finger tips,
cast out the urging of ambition,
the heavy weight of hubris,
the acid of anticipation,
the fear of letting go,
the sound and fury
of my screaming
while descending
to my last
upon that hard and distant floor.

Congeal the might
of all my maybe
into ten tiny fingertips
so totally invested now
with all the rest of me.
Do it, fingers, I am yours
I must grow lighter,
be no burden
despite my former gravity.
And when that works
– and work it will-
I’ll remain so light, so feather
I’ll jettison
this useless bosun’s chair
and sit upon the air.

As long as I am fingers
as long as there are ten of them
to one of me
I’ll climb this fucking Capitol
one finger at a time
if need be
and if this works for fingers
I’ll sprout wings,
and fall up,
or fly.

L13 ®Copyright 1974 Jack Scott. All rights reserved.