Anansi’s Story

Our mother wove a web of light
That startled the eternal night
They began to chase each other
From this came to birth first brother
Black as night with bright eyes glowing
Formless swirl of sudden knowing
Poured himself in all directions
Grew 8 legs with two mid-sections

A circle in the web he hardened
Mother planted there a garden
Should there be one spider only?
Such a life would be too lonely
Great the web and great the Mother
With her four arms made another
Doubling our Mother’s image
Counseled us to do no damage

Most beautiful of all the creatures
With the Mother’s self same features
Eight bright eyes and eight long arms
Bound by love to do no harm
Lovely mate and perfect gardens
Anansis 1 and 2 the wardens
Spun each day a web like Mother’s
Lived in harmony with others

Kissed his mate and lay beside her
Soon there were a thousand spiders
Searching with eight thousand eyes
So Mother made 10,000 flies
Which god it was he never heard
Created there five hundred birds
But they made us smarter, faster
Learning to avoid disaster

There was a sudden chirping in the trees above the pond
Anansi hushed and stayed quite still
The gold sun slipped behind the hill
Nancy felt a little chill
But moving closer, asked Anansi to go on

We were charged with sacred duty
Maintain the shrine of mother’s beauty
To every day perform the rite
Of startling the dark with light
By weaving webs just like our mother’s
Serving to remind the others
We all are one great mystery
However diverse our history

But we could not anticipate
This creature who appeared so late
Crashing in on two legs walking
Understanding not our talking
Burning Mother’s ancient garden
Without even asking pardon
Creature who did not respect us Pithecanthropus erectus

Anansi’s voice was growing fainter, Nancy came still nearer
Moved beside her on the mat
Watched her wrap another gnat
Lowered her head a bit so that
She could hear Anansi clearer

Their attitudes are furious
Insecticides injurious
Trees are felled to build their boxes
Forest pools are filled with toxins
If we find a place to weave
Immediately we’re forced to leave
And we are held in such disdain
They wash us down their bathtub drain

Nancy placed her hand down on the ground quite near the spider
“I can barely hear you dear
Step up on my finger here”
Lifted her up near her ear
Without a thought that she might bite her

Your kindness Nancy is so moving
Your understanding me is proving
There are some of your kind willing
To suspend this senseless killing
I will weave for you a wonder
Something you can daily ponder
By each morning’s light renewed
Sparkling diamond like with dew

Two friendly weavers walk together back to Nancy’s room
From the finger to the sill
Stepped this spider of such skill
I believe she lives there still
They work together each at her own loomAs Anansi Spider deftly finishes her weaving
With amazement Nancy sees
The spider’s rare ability
To weave our greatest mystery
That all still in the Mother’s web are breathing

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