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The Spider holds a Silver Ball

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on 11 April 2014

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Transcript of The Spider holds a Silver Ball

The Spider holds a Silver Ball
Emily Dickinson
Born: December 10, 1830 in Amherst, MA
Died: May 15, 1886
Began writing in 1850
Has written 1,175 poems
Emily Dickinson
American lyric poet
Educated at Amherst Academy and Mount Holyoke Female Seminary

The Spider holds a Silver Ball

The Spider holds a Silver Ball
In unperceived Hands —
And dancing softly to Himself
His Yarn of Pearl — unwinds —

He plies from nought to nought —
In unsubstantial Trade —
Supplants our Tapestries with His —
In half the period —

An Hour to rear supreme
His Continents of Light —
Then dangle from the Housewife's Broom —
His Boundaries — forgot —
Stanza 2
the spider has "unsubstantial Trade - " which --I suppose means he does not earn much for his silk tatting work. But the results of his labor--exceeds the quality of Tapestries and he does his superior making in less time as well--"Supplants our Tapestries with His -/ In half the period -". Perhaps --"An Hour to rear supreme" a vision of his art. ( Franklin)
written by Emily Dickinson
Stanza 1

Poems by Emily Dickinson
"Hope" is the thing with feathers - (314)
“Faith” is fine invention (202)
A Bird, came down the Walk - (359)
The morns are meeker than they were - (32)
We grow accustomed to the Dark - (428)

A little East of Jordan, (145)
A narrow fellow in the grass (1096)
A not admitting of the wound (1188)
A Route of Evanescence, (1489)
After great pain, a formal feeling comes – (372)
All overgrown by cunning moss, (146)
Banish Air from Air - (963)
Because I could not stop for Death – (479)
Before I got my eye put out – (336)
Come slowly – Eden! (205)
Crumbling is not an instant's Act (1010

The work of making a web seems highly specialized and efficient. Maybe more sophisticated than the crude word sticking and gumming we do in poems. This creatures whirls "a Silver Ball" aloft like a tray for serving us delicate lace. There is a song we can't hear, a dance that is performed and "unperceived Hands" spinning out the silver "Yarn of Pearl". We are to understand from Emily's careful description that this is an artist at work and not some crude artisan. (Franklin)
Prezi by Genevieve and Alexis Funchess
Stanza 3
Merely--to look about the yard--makes plain the evidence --of the spider's "Continents of Light -" that webbing that parachutes out to shimmer with the morning sun and dimple with the dew and rain. These glories saddle a leaf, anchor a pot, shove their nails of silver into the twine of a clematis vine, and even as Emily has said it --in this poem --they went beyond safe quarters to "dangle from the Housewife's Broom -" since the spider forgets the fence and gate of his own territories---and "His Boundaries - " exceeded. ( Franklin)
I love the first stanza with the dancing spider and his silver ball. The mental picture I get is of a cobweb spider (family Theridiidae) with its large round abdomen. It extrudes silk, its "Yarn of Pearl", through spinnerets, pulling it here and there with the comb feet of its hindermost legs as it constructs its web. It may be, though, that Dickinson had a different image in mind as her spider is using its "unperceived Hands" to hold its ball of yarn. -Susan Kornfeld
A beautiful little poem -- well analyzed. I love how ED describes the transparency of the web as an invisible world with commerce and continents and boundaries that is a complete world -- but not our world (unperceived hands, plies from nought to nought -- In unsubstantial Trade, Continents of Light). -Anonymous
Written in 1862
First Published in 1945
Cuban missile crisis
6.7% unemplyent rate
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