Wednesday, 30 September 2009

a life rides...

Daddy Longlegs

Here, on fine long legs springy as steel,
a life rides, sealed in a small brown pill
that skims along over the basement floor
wrapped up in a simple obsession.
Eight legs reach out like the master ribs
of a web in which some thought is caught
dead center in its own small world,
a thought so far from the touch of things
that we can only guess at it. If mine,
it would be the secret dream
of walking alone across the floor of my life
with an easy grace, and with love enough
to live on at the center of myself.

Ted Kooser (1939 - )

Flying at Night: Poems 1965-1985
(University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005)


A Daddy Long Legs in the UK is the crane fly
which is an insect and only has six legs.
In the US it usually refers to the harvestman
and in Australia it is the name for the cellar spider,
both of which are arachnids with eight legs.


I have fallen head over heels in love
with the work of Ted Kooser;
with the economical observation
and the delicious Mid West voice.


  1. How very strange that we each use the same term for completely different creepy-crawlies! I like daddy-longlegs here because they eat the mosquitos.

  2. In Italy they're spiders with round bodies and skinny legs.

    What a lovely poem.

  3. He's new to me, but a great introduction, thanks.
    Do daddy long legs 'frefl'? I think they do. That's the w.v.

  4. I think all bugs with long legs 'frefl' as they move.

  5. shudder

    my mother passed on to me a deep fear of daddy long legs

  6. The poem is entrancing, but the crane fly - ugh! They remind me of going back to school in September, where they used to haunt the stairwells at the beginning of term.

    Pomona x

  7. One of them frefld unexpectedly on my shoulder last night while I was reading in bed. I'm horrified to say that as I swiped and screamed, one of its legs came away...


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